U.S. Department of Education Announces More Than $188 Million from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to Support Mental Health and Student Wellness

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Today, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) is announcing awards of more than $188 million across 170 grantees in over 30 states to increase access to school-based mental health services and to strengthen the pipeline of mental health professionals in high-needs districts. With funding provided by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), these investments help advance the President’s Mental Health Strategy, which directly implements his Unity Agenda priority to tackle the mental health crisis in our school communities. These grants will enable communities to hire approximately 5,400 school-based mental health professionals and train an estimated 5,500 more to build a diverse pipeline of mental health providers in schools. These investments will begin the important work of broadening access to critical mental health supports by increasing the number of health care providers in schools. These funds also will help with strengthening the pipeline of certified mental health providers who are ready to work in schools with the greatest needs. These competitive grants are the first in a series of awards the Department will make over several years and constitute the largest investment in school-based mental health this country has ever made.

Even before the pandemic, the wellbeing of many students was unmet due to insufficient access to high-quality mental health care. For years, schools have struggled to meet the recommended ratios for school-based mental health professionals, and this is especially true in schools with more underserved students. Now, the mental health crisis facing students has reached a critical point with more than one in three high school students reported experiencing poor mental health during the height of the pandemic. Research shows that children and young people learn more, report feeling safer, and develop more trusting relationships with their peers and teachers when their social and emotional needs are met with certified and accessible mental health professionals.

“As the President outlined in his State of the Union address, we must do more to tackle our nation’s growing mental health crisis, which is particularly acute among our youth,” said Domestic Policy Advisor to the President Susan Rice. “These new awards will help connect more students in need to school-based mental health services now and ensure a pipeline of trained professionals to support students in the future. Integrating mental health services into our schools is a key component of the President’s Mental Health Strategy and will help fulfill a key component of the President’s Unity Agenda.”

“Even before the disruption, isolation, and trauma of the pandemic, youth rates of anxiety and depression, and other mental health challenges were on the rise, and too many students suffered in silence,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Mental health and wellness have profound implications for our students, their academic success, and their overall outcomes, and we know that youth facing mental health challenges are more likely to receive services in a school-based setting. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act represents an unprecedented opportunity to raise the bar for our support of our students, to improve learning conditions in our schools, to expand access to school-based mental health care, and to supercharge efforts across the country to train and hire a pipeline of professionals committed to the wellbeing of our students.”

These historic awards are made possible because of funds secured as part of the 2022 Omnibus and BSCA. Over the next five years, BSCA will invest $1 billion in these programs, helping us to make substantial progress towards the President’s goal, as part of his Mental Health Strategy, to double the number of school counselors, social workers, and other mental health professionals. These funds have the potential to meaningfully change lives by building a mental health infrastructure in schools and communities across the country.

“Following countless conversations with Connecticut parents, educators, and district leaders, as Chair of the subcommittee that funds the Department of Education, I created the School-Based Mental Health Services Grant Program to help districts increase the number of qualified, well-trained mental health professionals working in schools,” said Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee Rosa DeLauro. “Disruption in schools due to COVID-19, economic anxiety, job losses, and learning challenges have exacerbated pre-existing mental health challenges. Our youth need help, and this is a burden that teachers, administrators, and parents cannot alleviate on their own. These grants will expand the program’s reach, helping to move us closer to my goal of ensuring every child goes to a school that has a qualified mental health professional on staff. I want to thank Secretary Cardona for spearheading efforts to get this funding to our schools and improve the health care of our children.”

As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing efforts to tackle our mental health crisis by working to ensure every student has access to the mental health supports, the U.S. Department of Education will host a town hall, in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services, to hear directly from students and young people about the importance of social, emotional, and mental health. The townhall will take place at John Lewis High School in Fairfax County, Virginia where the district has received a grant to make critical investments to recruit, develop, and retain highly qualified and credentialed school-based mental health professionals, including counselors, social workers, and psychologists. Fairfax County Public Schools is part of a larger cohort of Virginia grantees.

This year, Virginia’s districts and institutions of higher education are receiving more than $10 million in funds to strengthen the pipeline and provide school-based mental health services to the state’s underserved students. This investment will support the mental health and academic trajectories of students across the state. These grantees include Campbell County Public Schools, Lynchburg City Schools, Fairfax County Public Schools, Newport News Public Schools, the University of Virginia, and the partnership between Portsmouth Public School Board and Norfolk State University.

Awards are being announced for two grant programs today: the School-Based Mental Health Services (SBMH) Grant Program and the Mental Health Service Professional (MHSP) Demonstration Grant Program. Through SBMH, the Department is investing more than $141 million to 103 states and school districts to increase the number of qualified mental health services providers delivering school-based mental health services to students. These funds increase the number of school psychologists, counselors, and other mental health professionals serving our students through recruitment and retention efforts, the promotion of re-specialization and professional retraining of existing mental health providers, and through efforts to increase the diversity and cultural and linguistic competency of school-based mental health services providers. These investments will allow more students in school buildings across the country to access mental health supports through trained professionals they can trust, and without shame or stigma.

Through MHSP, the Department is investing more than $46 million in competitive grants to 67 states, school districts, and institutions of higher education to support and demonstrate innovative partnerships to train school-based mental health services providers for employment in schools and local educational agencies (LEAs). The goal of this program is to increase the number and diversity of high-quality, trained providers available to address the shortages of mental health services professionals in schools and high-needs LEAs. Nearly half of the awardees included a partnership with a Historically Black College or University, Tribal College, or Minority Serving Institution. These funds will help the many schools struggling to fill mental health professional vacancies by creating partnerships between high-needs school districts and institutions.

The School-Based Mental Health Services Grant awardees are listed below:


Dillingham City School District AK $577,100
Bering Straits School District AK $857,202
Northwest Arctic Borough School District AK $711,279
Southwest Arkansas Educational Cooperative AR $585,528
Academy of Mathematics and Science South, Inc. AZ $768,240
Tempe Union High School District #213 AZ $275,973
Northern Humboldt Union High School District CA $866,861
Eureka City Schools CA $1,064,784
Santa Clara County Office of Education CA $1,694,164
Madera Unified School District CA $1,262,349
Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District CA $2,999,259
Riverside County Office of Education CA $2,999,967
Tulare County Office of Education CA $2,991,658
Conejo Valley Unified School District CA $1,995,912
Animo Jackie Robinson Charter High School CA $2,453,540
Ukiah Unified School District CA $1,182,896
Lemon Grove School District CA $545,782
La Mesa-Spring Valley School District CA $1,471,616
Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District CA $535,663
Imperial County Office of Education CA $3,000,000
Eagle County School District RE50J CO $785,304
EdAdvance CT $1,549,164
DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education DC $2,555,510
Ingenuity Prep Public Charter School DC $531,287
AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School DC $289,016
School Board of Miami-Dade County, Florida FL $3,000,000
Duval County Public Schools FL $1,263,203
School Board of Monroe County, Florida FL $1,300,713
Hillsborough County Public Schools FL $1,710,606
Bay County School District FL $1,698,847
Seminole County Public Schools FL $521,838
DeKalb County School District GA $677,673
Calhoun City Board of Education GA $399,121
Dougherty County School System GA $2,999,971
Illinois State Board of Education IL $2,975,414
Board of Education City of Chicago IL $3,000,000
Skokie School District 69 IL $1,393,028
Crystal Lake Community Consolidated School District #47 IL $1,042,046
Cook County School District 130 IL $1,955,646
Region 06 West Cook ISC 2 IL $2,189,227
La Moille Community Unit School District #303 IL $1,370,654
Indiana Department of Education IN $1,298,556
Greenfield-Central Community School Corporation IN $285,000
Richland Bean Blossom Community School Corporation IN $651,743
Hamilton Southeastern Schools IN $841,720
Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative (OVEC) KY $1,079,192
Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services, Inc. KY $1,263,481
Nelson County School District KY $560,213
Board of Education, Prince George’s County, MD, Inc. MD $403,449
Anne Arundel County Public Schools MD $249,824
Maine Department of Education ME $1,785,071
Maine School Administrative District 37 ME $527,561
Lansing School District MI $2,504,911
Independent School District No 535 MN $228,427
Senatobia Municipal School District MS $1,052,770
Jackson Public Schools MS $533,190
Iredell-Statesville Schools NC $2,018,455
Surry County Schools NC $892,109
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction NC $2,373,740
Guilford County Schools NC $2,992,531
West Fargo Public Schools ND $2,320,788
Dickinson Public School District ND $455,358
Educational Service Unit 2 NE $3,000,000
Lincoln Public Schools NE $360,447
Scottsbluff Public School District NE $1,228,248
New Jersey Department of Education NJ $2,700,000
Passaic Board of Education NJ $279,059
Central Region Educational Cooperative NM $398,444
Silver Consolidated Schools NM $1,210,500
Niagara Falls City School District NY $533,836
Board of Education – Ossining Union Free School District NY $596,234
Charter School of Educational Excellence NY $500,000
Haverstraw-Stony Point Central School District NY $1,750,000
Greater Amsterdam School District NY $532,500
Beavercreek City Schools OH $596,255
North Point Educational Service Center OH $1,206,000
Oklahoma State Department of Education OK $1,883,138
Durant Independent School District I-72 OK $424,040
Stringtown Public Schools OK $500,474
School District 1J Multnomah County, Oregon OR $200,473
Douglas Education Services District OR $2,236,382
Corbett School District 39 OR $862,079
Jackson County School District #4 DBA Phoenix-Talent Schools OR $420,080
RI Department of Elementary and Secondary Education RI $2,000,000
CORE Educational Cooperative SD $205,692
Bradley County Schools TN $1,981,669
Hamilton County Department of Education TN $492,672
State of Tennessee TN $1,870,740
Pasadena Independent School District TX $1,058,482
Education Service Center Region XV TX $236,515
Waxahachie Faith Family Academy TX $707,532
Uplift Education TX $1,737,872
Humble Independent School District TX $173,740
Virginia Department of Education VA $3,000,000
Campbell County Public Schools VA $693,750
Lynchburg City Schools VA $1,786,893
Fairfax County Public Schools VA $2,351,965
Newport News Public Schools VA $892,013
Northwest Educational Service District 189 WA $1,361,470
Tacoma Public Schools WA $630,956
Vancouver School District No. 037 WA $1,726,793
Shell Lake High School WI $199,598
Sauk Prairie School District WI $947,545
Total    $131,840,216 


The Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Grant awardees are listed below:


Alabama State University AL $1,181,140
Auburn University AL $352,526
Troy University AL $226,555
University of Central Arkansas AR $323,451
Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District CA $689,186
El Rancho Unified School District CA $696,038
iEmpire Academy CA $680,738
Multicultural Learning Center CA $820,058
Norwalk-La Mirada USD CA $770,537
Santa Paula Unified School District CA $635,875
The Regents of the University of California, Santa Barbara CA $832,677
University of Northern Colorado CO $235,010
Howard University DC $540,102
University of Delaware DE $339,848
The Florida International University Board of Trustees FL $1,200,001
University of Florida FL $868,338
University of South Florida FL $449,685
Georgia State University Research Foundation, Inc GA $1,430,886
University of Georgia Research Foundation Inc. GA $219,835
University of Northern Iowa IA $370,394
Illinois State Board of Education IL $1,201,072
Lewis University IL $466,308
Loyola University of Chicago IL $560,735
Northern Illinois University IL $961,629
Wichita State University KS $331,806
Springfield College MA $576,212
University of Maine System dba University of Southern Maine ME $172,837
Michigan Department of Education MI $913,475
College of St. Scholastica, INC. MN $370,523
Minnesota State University Moorhead Foundation MN $770,369
Regents of the University of Minnesota MN $1,169,599
Mississippi State University MS $163,870
Cumberland County Schools Board of Education NC $1,017,227
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction NC $776,791
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro NC $880,938
Minot State University ND $889,991
University of Mary ND $1,200,000
Kean University NJ $807,332
Board of Regents, NSHE on behalf of Nevada State College NV $67,131
Fordham University NY $652,241
Mercy College NY $887,088
Nazareth College of Rochester NY $519,333
Seneca Falls Central School District NY $1,199,318
The Research Foundation for The State University of New York NY $524,426
The Ohio State University OH $836,178
Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma OK $909,048
Carlow University PA $868,376
Albizu University PR $815,440
Clemson University SC $600,455
University of South Carolina SC $675,888
The University of Tennessee TN $712,706
Region One Education Service Center TX $1,167,574
San Antonio Independent School District TX $294,548
Texas Woman’s University TX $228,111
The University of Texas at Austin TX $612,378
The University of Texas at San Antonio TX $548,284
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley TX $1,024,711
University of Houston-Victoria TX $224,213
University of Texas at Tyler TX $262,537
University of Utah UT $969,514
Portsmouth Public School Board Office VA $211,338
The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia VA $1,199,434
Educational Service District 105 WA $1,108,985
University of Washington WA $1,196,705
Alverno College WI $500,351
Marquette University WI $194,337
Marshall University Research Corporation WV $1,660,220
Total    $46,764,462 


This announcement is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to addressing the nation’s mental health crisis by providing more resources and supports to help schools address students’ mental health needs. Just recently, the Department announced the Stronger Connections Grant program, which are awards totaling nearly $1 billion to 56 states and territories through BSCA to help schools in high-needs districts provide students with safe and supportive learning opportunities and environments that are critical for their success. At the beginning of the school year, the Department, along with the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, sent a letter to governors across the country to highlight federal resources available to states and schools to invest in mental health services for students. The Department also awarded $122 billion in American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds to help schools reopen and recover, and experts indicate more than $2 billion has been directed to hire more school psychologists, counselors, and other mental health professionals in K-12 schools. With the help of these funds, as of July, compared with the pre-pandemic period, the number of school social workers is up 54%, and the number of school counselors is up 22%.