Federal Education Funding Helps Schools Address Mental Health
Starting this month, October 2022, the Department of Education is inviting applications for new education funding grants for schools to address mental health. The two new federal funding grants are part of The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and the Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus Appropriations bill. These two grants offer $280 million to increase education funding for mental health services.
“This is the first of $1 billion in Bipartisan Safer Communities Act funds over the next five years that the Department of Education will award for this purpose.” - Department of Education
Why It Matters
The new education grants are extremely important in the fight for better mental health and the overall well-being of students. "We know children and youth can’t do their best learning when they’re experiencing depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges whether they stem from community violence, social isolation from the pandemic, loss of loved ones, bullying, harassment, or something else,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
To illustrate that point, recent data from the National Survey of Children’s Health shows that between 2016 and 2020 the number of children between the ages of 3-17 diagnosed with anxiety grew by 29 percent and those with depression by 27 percent. The data for behavioral or conduct issues also shows an increase of 21 percent between 2019 and 2020. Addressing these issues can be paramount for the student’s success and for teachers, as many teachers cite student behavior and misconduct as the main reason why they are opting out of the profession. The new education funding grants are a step in the right direction to solving the nation’s mental health crisis.
Schools and Mental Health Programs
With the increase in student mental health issues, the ratio of counselors and psychologists to students is alarming. The national average is currently 1:250 for counselors to students and 1:2,752 for school psychologists to students. The new education funding grants can play a vital role in providing the necessary resources to get mental health care and SEL programs in schools.
With the new education grants, schools can develop early interventions that support skills to deal with grief, anger, anxiety, depression, and more. Schools can also develop programs that allow teachers, parents, counselors, and school psychologists to be a part of the development of the students and their mental well-being. By utilizing these education grants and implementing mental health programs, schools can provide better mental health support. In some cases, that means avoiding tragedies such as suicide and school shootings.
Furthermore, studies suggest that having mental health programs can help students succeed academically. Having these programs in place also helps students build positive social skills, leadership, and self-awareness. It also significantly improves truancy, attendance, discipline rates, graduation rates, and a positive school environment.
The Benefits are Clear
In order to help students overcome the many obstacles that they are facing related to mental health, schools should take advantage of this opportunity. The benefits of taking advantage of these new federal funding grants are clear. Students' mental health will be addressed by implementing reliable programs and in turn, the overall school environment can improve. And as a beacon of hope, these education funding grants, The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and the Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus Appropriations, are great examples of what it means to come together and invest in our youth.
If you would like to learn more about BASE Education and learn about the many ways we can help your school implement mental health solutions and SEL contact us today.