The Department of Education is readying another round of federal funding to strengthen institutions’ supply of mental health counselors, providing almost $100 million across 35 states, according to a news release.
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) signed into law last June has now awarded $286 million across 264 grantees in 48 states and territories to boost the development of mental health professionals in K12 and higher ed.
The BSCA is expected to train more than 14,000 new mental health professionals nationwide through two different grant programs. The School-Based Mental Health (SBMH) grant program aims to increase the number of credentialed counselors by awarding competitive grants to state and local agencies. The Mental Health Service Professional (MHSP) grant program is intended to bolster their training. The latter has awarded nearly $150 million since December, and almost half of all its grantees have proposed a partnership with a Minority Serving Institution.
Grants provided by the BSCA serve Biden’s overarching Mental Health Strategy, which aims to double the current number of school counselors, social workers and other school-based professionals. The Department of Education is expected to distribute another $1 billion of BSCA funding over the next five years.
This announcement comes at the heels of North Carolina State ending the Spring semester of this academic year with seven students dying by suicide and two by drug overdose.
While the Raleigh-based college convened a mental health task force in November, a February report concluded, “there is not only room for, but also a need for, additional efforts.”
Student mental health a high priority for higher ed
“Schools are putting more dollars against that issue, but the schools themselves are recognizing that they’re not even close to where they need to be,” said Michael London, CEO of Uwill, an online student wellness service.
Colleges awarded funds
The MHSP grant program awarded over $1 million to three separate colleges, including SUNY at Binghamton, Eastern University and William James College. Here is the complete list of institutions the MHSP awarded grants to in the Northeast.
- William James College (Mass.): $1,180,657
- Eastern University (Penn.): $1,199,357
- SUNY at Binghamton: $1,088,588
- Alfred University (N.Y.): $904,228
- Long Island University: $866,498
- University of Maryland, Baltimore: $825,567
- University of New Hampshire: $763,446
- The Johns Hopkins University (Md.): $693,004
- Bowie State University (Md.): $674,464
- Rowan University (N.J.): $645,198
- University of Massachusetts Boston: $451,347
- Loyola University Maryland: $377,941
- Vermont State Colleges: $97,617