On July 29th, the Biden Administration announced actions to address the decline in youth mental health by awarding funds to increase access to comprehensive mental health services in schools and encouraging governors to take advantage of these funds. Over the years, youths have reported experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety at higher rates, which has been exacerbated by COVID-19. In response, the Biden Administration announced two actions to address this mental health crisis.
Through the FY2022 Bipartisan Omnibus Agreement, the Biden Administration secured nearly $300 million to be awarded to schools to expand access to mental health services. Two bills passed earlier this year, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (S.2938) and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 (H.R.2471), will each allocate $140 million to two grant programs to provide additional funding to improve school-based mental health services: Mental Health Service Professional (MHSP) Demonstration Grant Programs and School-Based Mental Health (SBMH) Services Grant Programs. These programs will provide qualified mental health professionals to high need local educational agencies (LEAs) and state educational agencies (SEAs).
Additionally, $7 million in funding will be used to provide evidence-based and culturally relevant trauma support services in schools, $68 million will be used to expand mental health services through Full-Service Community Schools, and $5 million will be allocated to Project Prevent, a program that aims to mitigate community violence and the childhood trauma associated with community violence.
The Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, issued a joint letter to Governors encouraging states to take full advantage of these federal resources. This letter advises and guides states on how to leverage their Medicaid funding to deliver comprehensive mental health services to students, as well as providing information on how to streamline Medicaid billing for these services.
Beginning this week and continuing over the next few months, the Department of Education will meet to discuss rollout and implementation of funding. The President’s FY23 budget proposes over $27 billion in discretionary funding and $100 billion over ten years to implement this national mental health strategy.