SAMHSA, HRSA Allocate $245M to Youth Behavioral Health, Workforce Needs

Nearly $245 million of the billions of dollars appropriated by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act will go toward youth behavioral health.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Monday that several federal programs were given additional funds.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded about $185.7 million. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded nearly $60 million, according to a news release. Both entities are divisions of HHS.


The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was passed in the wake of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The bill was passed and signed into law in June 2022. It boosted federal funding for behavioral health by about $2.2 billion.

Monday’s award and the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act reflect a continuing and bipartisan interest in addressing the worsening mental health of Americans following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially youth behavioral health. 

The omnibus funding bill enacted at the end of 2022 included major — unprecedented according to some — funding and regulatory changes for the behavioral health sector.


“We are all concerned about the mental health of children and young people in this country,” Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of SAMHSA, said in a news release. “The additional funding for youth mental health programs provided under the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act helps SAMHSA develop and expand programs that help children, youth and their families get the support and care they need.”

Some of the big-number funding awards include the following:

— $73.6 million to help schools develop mental health programs through Project Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education (Project AWARE)

— $57.7 million for mental health recognition and early intervention training for front-line government employers including school personnel, emergency first responders, law enforcement and others

— About $60 million to train primary care providers on pediatric mental health

“Often the first person you turn to when you or your kids need mental health support is your trusted primary care provider—yet for too long, we haven’t given those primary care providers the mental health training they need to help,” Carole Johnson, HHS Administrator of HRSA, said in the release.

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