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MANAGEMENT UPDATE.

GETTING MENTAL HEALTH MONEY WHERE IT COUNTS

In late December, we wrote a column for Route Fifty titled “Mental Health Funding is Becoming the Bipartisan Issue of Our Time,” in which we outlined a number of measures that states have been taking to fund mental health initiatives for their residents.


Though that was essentially a good news story, the truth remained that many states and cities are still far short on cash to support their mental health programs. With that in mind, it was good news on March 21st when a new bill was introduced in Congress called “The Creating Access and Resources in Education (CARE) for Student Mental Health Act”. Its goal was to help communities to utilize chunks of the $1 billion in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act,” which had been passed in June of 2022, but had not been significantly tapped.


According to a brief by the School Superintendents Association, “Despite the enormous need for school-based mental health professionals across the United States for this funding, fewer than 3% of eligible entities applied for these grants. Many district administrators had no idea this money was even available while other districts were deterred by the application process and the lack of technical assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Education on how to complete the various components of the application.”



The new bill would make access to these much-needed dollars for high-need, low-capacity districts in a variety of ways. For example, it would require the Department of Education to provide technical assistance to potential grantees that don’t have sufficient funding to seek out, apply for and utilize grants.


According to a release issued by his office, one of the bill’s sponsors, Texas Senator John Cornyn said that “Far too many young people struggle with their mental health, and far too many schools lack the resources to recognize and care for students who may be in crisis. To break this vicious cycle, our legislation would help connect schools with the potentially life-saving mental health resources provided by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to hire additional school psychologists and invest in the wellbeing of their students.”


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GOOD NEWS FOR GRANT SEEKERS

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