CounselorsEmpowerACA Government Affairs Blog

The ACA Government Affairs team strives to keep the counseling community connected with important legislative news, updates, and announcements that affect the profession. Questions? Want to get involved in our advocacy efforts? Email us at 


Jul 01, 2019

Apply Now: Mental Health Demonstration Grant Program

Our nation’s schools should be safe and secure settings where children can learn and grow to their full potential. However, over the last few years, violent acts inside and outside our schools—as well as a growing rate of student suicides— have created stress and trauma for individual students and disrupted the learning environment. School-based mental health services providers offer support that encompass social-emotional learning, mental wellness, resilience, and positive connections between students and adults. Additionally, in the aftermath of a crisis, school-based mental health professionals provide support that facilitate a return to normalcy, are sustainable, and can help to identify and work with students with more intense or ongoing needs.

In the FY 2019 Labor, HHS, Education Appropriations Bill, Congress included $10 million for a Mental Health Demonstration Competitive Grant Program to encourage innovative higher education partnerships in local school districts with an emphasis on those with the highest need. The Trump Administration authorized funding to $15 million in its FY2020 budget proposal. We expect that the need for these investments will outpace the funding level, so the American Counseling Association supports increasing the funding for the innovative partnerships competitive grant program to $20 million in FY2020.  In the absence of a dedicated federal funding stream for school counselors, the American Counseling Association strongly supports this program. We do not want to see this be a one-time investment in school-based mental health services. Continued funding for this initiative is critical to maximize the impact. 

The Department of Education has prepared instructions on how to apply as well as important dates: 

Applications Available: June 21, 2019

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: August 5, 2019

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: September 4, 2019

For the addresses for obtaining and submitting an application, please refer to our Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs found here.

Federal Registry Announcement


Earl Myers, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 3E244, Washington, DC 20202–6450. Email: If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll-free, at 1–800–877– 8339. 

Contact Name

Guila Todd

Contact Title

Legislative Representative

Contact Email


Contact Phone

703-823-9800 X 354

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