The U.S. Department of Education recently opened applications for the School-Based Mental Health and Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration grant competitions to help bolster the pipeline of mental health professionals serving in schools and expand student access to school-based mental health services and supports, according to a news release.

These newly-opened applications build on the progress made through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to advance efforts to integrate mental health services into our schools as part of a national mental health strategy. Many school districts across the country are facing an increased need for mental health services for their students, while at the same time, often struggling to find qualified mental health professionals to provide these services. The USDOE anticipates making approximately $38 million available across both competitions in fiscal year 2024.

To support the mental health professional pipeline, MHSP grants support local educational agencies in partnership with institutions of higher education, in training school-based mental health services providers, with the goal of expanding the number of these professionals available to address the shortages in schools across the country. This MHSP competition also includes priorities to increase the number of mental health professionals from diverse backgrounds or the districts they serve, promote inclusive practices, and partnerships with historically black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and universities, Hispanic serving institutions and other minority-serving instructions. Through SBMH, high-need school districts may receive funding to hire and increase the number of mental health professionals and the provision of services in schools. These two programs will help schools raise the bar for student mental health by recruiting, preparing, hiring and retaining diverse and highly qualified school-based mental health providers, including in underserved communities, where access to mental health services can be limited.

The notices inviting applications, which outline requirements to apply, have been posted to the Federal Register. Applications for SBMH are here, and due on April 30, 2024 and applications for MHSP are here, and due on May 15, 2024.

Learn more in the full news release.