Biden-Harris Administration Invests Over $200 Million in Youth Mental Health

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This article is presented in partnership with Project HOPE

President Joe Biden is prioritizing mental health initiatives through The Unity Agenda.

First discussed in his 2022 State of the Union address, the Unity Agenda confronts a number of topics — including cancer research and the opioid epidemic — and includes three objectives related to supporting mental health.

These objectives are: creating healthy environments, strengthening system capacity, and connecting more Americans to care. 

Building on the Unity Agenda, the Biden-Harris administration recently announced $206 million in grants dedicated to supporting youth mental health and community-based behavioral health care and treatment.

This investment comes through collaborations with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Administration for Children and Families

So what will this funding do?

“Combined, these awards will help expand access to mental health services for students in schools, bolster the behavioral health workforce, and improve access to mental health prevention and treatment for children and youth in communities across the country,” an HHS press release states.

This will all be accomplished through the following investments across multiple government agencies: 

  • Develop infrastructure to promote the mental health of youth in Native American communities
  • Build school-based, trauma-informed support services
  • Improve life trajectories for youth with serious mental disorders
  • Expand substance abuse treatment capacity in adult and family treatment drug courts
  • Increase training and education to prevent youth overdose
  • Expand family counseling and support for LGBTQ+ youth and families
  • Increase funding to 77 HRSA-funded health centers
  • Supply 25 states and territories with the resources to train pediatricians and mental health care
  • Provide funds to 23 organizations to train more behavioral health providers who serve children, adolescents, and young adults in underserved and rural areas
  • Create the first National Center to Support Mental Health Services in the Child Welfare System

“The Biden-Harris Administration is deeply committed to tackling the mental health crisis facing America, particularly among our young people. Expanding mental health care services to ensure that everyone who needs help can access care when and where they seek it is a key element of President Biden’s Unity Agenda,” HHS Secretary, Xavier Becerra, said in a press release. 

“We are transforming mental health and substance use treatment across the country by providing equitable access to services for all Americans. These tools and resources will help families struggling to meet the mental health care needs of their children.”

Among these key investments are large sums dedicated to mental health in schools and in communities that have long been underserved by the healthcare system.

The funds given to schools are made possible by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which President Biden signed into law in June of 2022, that will invest over $1 billion over the course of five years to improve and expand school-based mental health programs. 

Part of this most recent $206 million investment in youth mental health includes establishing a national Mental Health Evaluation, Training, Research, and Innovation Center for Schools (METRICS) to increase support and offer new resources for schools nationwide. 

The new METRICS Center will double the number of mental health providers in schools and distribute resources to states, districts, and schools nationwide to implement social, emotional, and mental health learning.

“The youth mental health crisis continues to be among the top concerns raised to me by the students, parents, families, educators, and school leaders I've visited in 43 states across America,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a press release. 

“We are making unprecedented investments in mental health that will help states, districts, and schools raise the bar for students’ overall well-being and academic recovery.”

By investing in underserved demographics — like LGBTQ+ families, Native and Indigenous communities, youth impacted by the child welfare system, and low-income families — these funds will support young people across the country as they address mental health and substance use challenges. 

“These awards reflect the extraordinary commitment of the Biden-Harris Administration to addressing youth mental health,” Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm said in a statement. “The tools and resources that we are providing will help children who are struggling by meeting them and their families where they are, and ensuring there is no wrong door to behavioral health care.”

Article Details

October 12, 2023 7:00 AM
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