HHS Funds Efforts to Address Youth Mental Health Crisis

Sept. 26, 2023
Awards intended to 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

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced $206 million in grant awards toward youth mental health.

Recent data confirms that young people need more support to address their mental health and substance use disorder challenges. The most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that nearly three in five U.S. teen girls felt persistently sad or hopeless in 2021 – representing a nearly 60 percent increase over the past decade. It also found that 22 percent of high school students seriously considered attempting suicide during the past year.

The awards are intended to 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. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will make more Medicaid funding available for school-based health services in Virginia, making it the 5th state this year (and the 16th state overall) to take advantage of this flexibility.

Other awards are being made through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF).

“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, said HHS Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm, in a statement.

Here is a summary of the funding made available:

$131.7 Million from SAMHSA to Support At-risk Youth and Families

  • $5.7 million for Planning and Developing Infrastructure to Promote the Mental Health of Children, Youth and Families in American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) Communities,
  • $5.5 million for Cooperative Agreements for School-Based Trauma-Informed Support Services and Mental Health Care for Children and Youth,
  • $2.4 million for Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health (Project LAUNCH), $16.4 million for Healthy Transitions: Improving Life Trajectories for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Disorders Program,
  • $41.2 million for Grants to Expand Substance Abuse Treatment Capacity in Adult and Family Treatment Drug Courts,
  • $48.3 million for Grants for Expansion and Sustainability of the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children with Serious Emotional Disturbances (System of Care SOC Expansion and Sustainability),
  • $1.8 million for Preventing Youth Overdose: Treatment, Recovery, Education, Awareness and Training,
  • $8.7 million for Behavioral Health Partnership for Early Diversion of Adults and Youth, and
  • $1.7 million for Family Counseling and Support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex+ Youth and Their Families.

Expanding Access to Youth Mental Health Care

$55 Million from HRSA for Expanding Access to Youth Mental Health Care:

  • $25 million to 77 HRSA-funded health centers to create new and expand existing school-based health centers,
  • $19 million to 25 states and territories to train pediatricians in mental health care and provide real-time teleconsultation for pediatricians to get expert support from psychiatrists and other mental health providers to help them care for their patients’ mental health needs,
  • $11 million to 23 organizations to train more behavioral health providers focused on serving children, adolescents, and young adults in underserved and rural areas.

Center to Support Mental Health Services in Child Welfare

$20 Million from ACF to Launch First National Center to Support Mental Health Services in the Child Welfare System:

  • $20 million to the National Center to Support Mental Health Services in the Child Welfare System to provide technical assistance and evidence-informed training to strengthen coordination and capacity among child welfare and mental health professionals and systems to improve the quality of mental health services they provide to children, young adults, and their families who are involved in the child welfare system and who have experienced adoption.

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