The U.S. Department of Education announced Monday it is accepting applications for two grant programs aimed at increasing mental health supports for students.
Funding for the grants come from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and FY 2022 annual appropriations. Grant requirements, published in August, said money would be distributed to states and districts to expand school-based mental health services by increasing, diversifying, recruiting and retaining school mental health staff.
"For too long, schools have lacked the resources to hire enough school-based mental health providers, when at the same time, educators are often first to notice when a student is slipping academically or struggling because of mental health challenges," said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in an emailed statement.
The first grant program — School-Based Mental Health Services Grants — is for states and districts to increase the number of credentialed school-based mental health service providers in districts with a demonstrated need. There is $144 million available each year for five years, with an average award size of $1.75 million. The department estimates making up to 150 awards.
The second program — Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Grants — encourages innovative partnerships between districts and higher education institutions to train school-based mental health services providers to work in schools and districts. This program is funded at $143 million a year for five years, with an average award size of $800,000. The Education Department expects to provide 250 awards.
The Education Department is planning to hold webinars this month for prospective applicants.