The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced $47.6 million in new grant funding opportunities for school-based mental health programs and resources.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)’s grant opportunities comes from from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (S.2938), enacted in June to implement changes to the mental health care system, school safety programs, and gun safety laws.
Available funding for counties is two-fold and includes:
- $37.6 million within Project Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education (AWARE) to develop a sustainable infrastructure for school-based mental health programs and services.
- Grant recipients must build collaborative partnerships with a variety of stakeholders to promote the healthy social and emotional development of school-aged youth and prevent youth violence in school settings. HHS anticipates awarding up to $1.8 million annually to around 20 awardees for up to four years.
- County governments are eligible to apply for these funds by the deadline of October 13, 2022.
- $10 million for the Resiliency in Communities after Stress and Trauma (ReCAST) grant program, which helps assist high-risk youth and families by promoting resilience and equity in communities that have recently faced civil unrest, community violence, and/or collective trauma.
- Grant recipients will implement evidence-based violence prevention and community youth engagement programs. HHS anticipates awarding $1 million per year to ten awardees for up to four years.
- County governments are eligible to apply for these funds by the deadline of October 17, 2022.
Additionally, HHS awarded $40.2 million in youth mental health grants during the month of August, with county governments around the country being among some of the award recipients.
Maryland counties tackle youth mental health
Counties across Maryland have implemented new and innovative programs to tackle mental health challenges facing the state’s youth. Recent innovations include:
- Howard County’s School-Based Mental Health Program to provide free mental health resources for all County public school students
- The County will expand access to mental health services to every single public school student in all of the county’s 77 public schools. Howard County has committed $2.1 million to expand school-based mental health programs for at least the next two years.
- The county has implemented several programs to address mental health, especially among youth populations in schools, including the school system partnering with the health department to launch the Screening Teens to Access Recovery, or STAR, program to screen high school students for substance abuse or mental health issues. That program launched in 2019 and was expanded to county middle schools in 2022.
- With a disturbing share of residents seeking mental health services needing to go out-of-county to receive care, Prince George’s County has taken action to improve local services, supporting a new health care pavilion in Lanham.