HHS announces availability of $25 million to expand primary care – including mental health – services in schools

For the first time, awardees will be required to provide mental health services in schools.

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced the availability of approximately $25 million to expand primary health care, including mental health services in schools. For the first time, applicants will be required to add or expand mental health services in order to receive school funding. HRSA-funded health centers currently operate more than 3,400 school service sites in schools across the country.

The Biden-Harris administration is committed to improving and expanding behavioral health services. President Biden named mental health a key pillar of his Unity Agenda and launched a comprehensive strategy to address the country’s mental health crisis, prioritizing mental health in the President’s budget, making large investments in the mental health workforce country and proposing health coverage reforms to include mental health care.

“President Biden recognizes that mental health is critical to the overall health and well-being of our nation’s children and young adults and has supported HHS programs and policies to expand mental health services for youth,” said President Biden. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Ensuring children have access to the care they need in schools, including mental health services, is a critical way we support their healthy growth and development.”

“At the Health Resources and Services Administration, we are using every lever available to expand access to mental health care,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson. “We want to make sure there is no wrong door for young people to find help. That’s why we’re investing in expanding mental health care in schools to help kids get the support they need. We expect a robust pool of applicants in response to this exciting funding announcement.”

School dropouts provide convenient access to primary health care for children and adolescents. HRSA-funded health centers will use this funding to expand access to primary general medical and mental health care through new school-based sites and expansion of existing sites. HRSA plans to fund 70 awards.

The $25 million funding opportunity for health centers announced today builds on the $30 million HRSA has awarded since September 2021 to increase access to health center services in schools. In addition, it promotes the shared commitment of Secretary Becerra and Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, to expand health services in schools, as described in your joint letter to the Governors. Furthermore, this funding is part of the ongoing program Effort of the entire administration to strengthen our nation’s mental health.

Health centers must submit applications on Grants.gov by 11:59 pm ET on March 31, 2023 and in HRSA Electronic Handbooks by 5:00 pm ET on May 1, 2023. Visit the School Services Expansion Technical Assistance Web Page for funding opportunity notice, eligibility requirements, technical assistance information, and other resources.

HRSA funds nearly 1,400 health centers, collectively operating more than 15,000 service delivery sites in communities across the country.

To locate an HRSA-supported health center, visit: https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/.

As part of HHS’s overarching commitment to youth mental health, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently announced a new funding opportunity through Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education). The goal of this program is to develop a sustainable infrastructure for school-based mental health programs and services. With this program, SAMHSA aims to promote the healthy social and emotional development of school-age youth and prevent youth violence in school settings.

Applications for the Project AWARE funding opportunity must be submitted on Grants.gov by April 28, 2023. More information on funding eligibility can be found at https://www.samhsa.gov/grants/grant-announcements/sm-23-001.

HHS announces availability of $25 million to expand primary care – including mental health – services in schools

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