Press release from governor.ny.gov.
Governor Kathy Hochul announced up to $50 million in available funding for school districts to improve student access to mental health resources and assist students who have experienced trauma that has impacted their education. A Request for Proposals has been issued by the New York State Office of Mental Health, who will administer the program.
"Young students have been particularly hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, suffering disruptions in their education, social lives and recreational activities and opportunities," Governor Hochul said. "I have heard the concerns from many parents and educators about the impact that COVID-19 has had on our children's well-being. This funding will help ensure that every student who has experienced trauma that has impacted their education can receive the necessary mental health resources they need and deserve."
A total of up to $10 million each year over five years will be available and distributed to eligible school districts. Awards shall not exceed $500,000 per applicant annually. Continued funding past the first year will be contingent on timely reporting, satisfactory progress in meeting chosen grant objectives, and the availability of funds.
Proposals will be scored, and awards will be made to the highest scoring applications that meet the minimum scoring threshold until funds are exhausted or until there are no fundable applications remaining.
Eligible proposals will achieve the following goals:
Enhance access to mental health services: Enhancement of mental health staffing and use of a standardized tool to identify student needs are both proven interventions that enhance access to the strategies and supports that address the mental health of students.
Implement integrated mental health supports: Promoting wellness and resilience within the school environment is crucial in supporting the mental health of students and families, particularly in the wake of the global pandemic.
Strengthen partnerships with existing supports within the mental health system as well as the larger child-serving system: Enhancing coordination between school staff and community providers and identifying resources within and outside the school allows educators to understand the full range of services available and ensure students and their families have access to the full array of supports/services they need.
More information about the Request for Proposals is available on the OMH website.
New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, "By expanding and enhancing mental health resources in our schools, we have been able to greatly increase access to services for children and their families. OMH has invested significant resources for children and youth whose lives were turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, and who are now impacted by anxiety, depression and trauma. The funding announced today by Governor Hochul will help us improve student access to mental health resources, and support our students as well as their families."
State Senator Shelley B. Mayer said, "Even before COVID-19, student mental health concerns were at the forefront of issues raised by school officials, parents and stakeholders at regional roundtables we held across the state. The pandemic has only exacerbated these needs. I am pleased that funds allocated for this important initiative will now be distributed to districts throughout the state, helping students address their critical mental health challenges."
Assemblymember Michael Benedetto said, "Mental health and wellness especially after the COVID-19 pandemic has been at the paramount of issues education will have to solve for students in the state of New York. I am happy those who need the resources will be receiving them.”