Fully Fund School-based Mental Health Programs
Already Enacted by Law
Politics seem more polarized now than ever, making it rare for the two chambers of Congress to reconcile and pass a law. There are funding cuts from sequestration and an inability to agree on a budget, which leaves money that goes to our schools and communities hanging in the balance.
Our communities need funding to go to school-based mental health services, and our Congressional Appropriation Committee members have the ability to include increased funding for school-based mental health services in their FY2014 Appropriation bills.
Here's some information on the three programs we support:
The Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program:
This is a competitive grant program that can be used to establish or expand elementary and secondary school counseling programs. This program is still currently active, however has been threatened to be cut. These grants are largely used to hire school-based mental health professionals. Simply put, funding for more school-based mental health professionals can directly increase the number of students who are receiving preventative and responsive in-school services and connecting with community mental health resources when appropriate.
Safe Schools Healthy Students Initiative:
This grant program support school districts in the development of community wide approaches to creating safe and drug-free schools and promoting healthy childhood development. Coordination with other community-based organizations is required. Student behavioral, social, and emotional supports, early childhood social and emotional learning programs, and mental health services must be implemented under this grant. This program is jointly funded and administered by the departments of Education, Justice, and Health and Human Services. Since 2012, no new money has been given out.
Integration of Schools and Mental Health Systems:
This program’s purpose is to increase student access to quality mental health care by developing innovative programs that link school systems with local mental health systems. A funded program enhances, improves, or develops collaborative efforts between school-based service systems and community mental health service systems to provide diagnosis and treatment services to students. It also enhances the availability of crisis intervention services, appropriate referrals for students potentially in need of mental health services, and ongoing mental health services.