On Sept. 28, President Donald Trump signed into law H.R. 6157, a measure to fund the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education and other federal agencies for fiscal year 2019.
The bill includes funding for many important initiatives related to mental health and school counseling. Among them is a pilot program sponsored by Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) to test and evaluate partnerships between universities and state and local education agencies to train school counselors and other mental health professionals for positions in public school systems serving low-income communities. ACA members and staff advocated for House and Senate approval of this new program that will help school counselors—and students—nationwide.
Other highlights of the legislation include:
Health and Human Services funding
$1.5 billion for state opioid response grants
$150 million for certified community behavioral health centers
$105 million for the National Health Service Corps, including a provision for loan repayment for professionals working individuals dealing with substance-use issues
$75 million for the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training program
$63.8 million for the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative
$36.2 million for Mental and Behavioral Health Education and Training
$24.5 million for telehealth programs, including a $1 million increase for evidence-based grants related to school safety
$12 million for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
$1.17 billion for Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants, which include school counseling and school mental health programs
$10 million for the Safe Schools and Education pilot program, to test and evaluate partnerships between universities and state and local education agencies to train school counselors and other mental health professionals for positions in public school systems serving low-income communities