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U. S. Department of Education Announces New Actions to Increase Access to School-Based Mental Health Services

The Biden-Harris Administration announced new actions to increase access to school-based mental health services, including (1) nearly doubling investments in the U.S. Department of Education’s (Department’s) School-Based Mental Health Services (SBMH) and Mental Health Service Professionals (MHSP) grant programs in the current Fiscal Year; (2) making additional investments through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) to improve the mental health and wellbeing of students and educators; and (3) offering new mental health and wellbeing trainings and resources for schools and educators.  

“Today’s announcements affirm the Biden-Harris Administration’s continued commitment to tackling our youth mental health crisis,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “We know students are more likely to access mental health support if it’s offered in schools. By nearly doubling funds this year for school-based mental health professionals, releasing additional funds to help advance a variety of mental health strategies, and providing additional training and resources, we are raising the bar for student wellbeing across the country.”  

Our nation’s schools serve as a critical access point to mental health services that could otherwise be out of reach for students. Students are six times more likely to receive mental health services when they are delivered at school. That is because schools are often best positioned to provide access and reach large numbers of students through education, prevention, services, and early intervention efforts, and can help to reduce stigmatization that might be associated with seeking services. Improving youth mental health is a key component of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to improving student wellbeing and outcomes: when young people have access to the mental health care that they need and deserve, they’re more likely to learn, develop, and achieve, and to build important connections with peers and caring adults. 

Thanks to President Biden’s work to pass and sign the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and BSCA, and as a core component of the President’s Unity Agenda, students have increased access to vital services and are more likely to have a counselor, social worker, or nurse at their school than when the President took office. The Department has worked closely with federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as colleges and universities, to build K-12 school-based capacity to provide mental health services and work toward accomplishing the goal set out by the President to double the number of school counselors, social workers, and other school-based mental health professionals. Additionally, Biden-Harris Administration investments have opened the door for colleges and universities to train more school-based mental health professionals who can work with students and increase the diversity of the profession; for schools to hire and retain mental health professionals and provide school-based services; and for schools to access additional funding through the Medicaid program to support school health services, including mental health services.   

Visit the department website to see the full version of this release.

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