HHS announces nearly $35 million to strengthen mental health support for children, young adults

The Department of Health and Human Services – through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Office of Minority Health  – announced nearly $35 million in funding opportunities to strengthen and expand community mental health services and suicide prevention programs for America’s children and young adults. The American Rescue Plan funded $9.2 million. This announcement is part of a new Administration-wide initiative to tackle the nation’s mental health crisis.

“Mental health is fundamental to the overall health and well-being of our country’s children and young adults,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to providing young people with the resources they need to thrive—during this pandemic and in the years to come. As part of our National Tour to Strengthen Mental Health, I’ll be traveling across the country with members of my leadership team to listen and learn about new and innovative ways HHS can support local communities in addressing youth mental health and other aspects of our country’s mental health crisis.”

Last week, following President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address, Becerra kicked off a National Tour to Strengthen Mental Health in an effort to hear directly from Americans across the country about the mental health challenges they’re facing, and engage with local leaders to strengthen the mental health and crisis care systems in our communities. On Friday, as part of the tour, Secretary Becerra and Dr. Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, the HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of SAMHSA, met with mental health providers and local leaders in Manchester, N.H.

“These grant programs will expand access to proven treatments, interventions, and other recovery supports, while developing new and innovative solutions to strengthen mental health services for America’s children and young adults,” said Delphin-Rittmon. “As we travel to communities across the country, I look forward to engaging with local leaders on how the Department and SAMHSA can ensure that our mental health and crisis care systems don’t leave our young people behind.”

The seven grant programs are:
Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education)This grant program develops sustainable infrastructure for school-based mental health programs and services. Grant recipients will build a collaborative partnership that includes the State Education Agency, the Local Education Agency, the State Mental Health Agency, community-based providers of behavioral health care services, school personnel, community organizations, families, and school-aged youth. This grant will fund up to $5.4 million from the American Rescue Plan over 5 years for up to three grant awards.

Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention (GLS)This grant program enhances mental health services for all college students, including those at risk for suicide, depression, serious mental illness, serious emotional disturbances, or substance use. This grant program will fund up to $2.2 million, including $102,000 from the American Rescue Plan, over three years for up to 22 grant awards.

GLS State/Tribal Youth Suicide Prevention and Early Intervention ProgramThis grant program supports states and tribes with implementing youth suicide prevention and early intervention strategies in schools and educational institutions, substance use and mental health programs, foster care systems, and other child- and youth-serving organizations. This grant program will fund up to $4.4 million over five years, including $3.7 million from the American Rescue Plan, for up to six grantees.

Statewide Family Network (SFN) Program: This grant program enhances the capacity of statewide mental health family-controlled organizations (i.e., organizations where families help other families improve their lives) to support families and caregivers who are raising children, youths, and young adults with serious emotional disturbances. This program will serve as a catalyst for transforming mental health and related systems in states by strengthening coalitions led by family-controlled organizations, and between family members, policy makers, and service providers. This grant program will fund up to $1.6 million over three years for up to 13 grant awards.

Expansion and Sustainability of the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children with Serious Emotional Disturbances (SED)This grant program, also known as the System of Care (SOC) Expansion and Sustainability Grants, improves mental health outcomes for children and youth who have SED, from birth through age 21, and their families. This program will help create sustainable infrastructure and services that are required as part of the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and their Families Program (also known as the Children’s Mental Health Initiative or CMHI). The grant program will fund up to $10.4 million over four years, for up to 10 grantees.

The Community Programs for Outreach and Intervention with Youth and Young Adults at Clinical High Risk for Psychosis (CHR-P): This grant program helps to identify youth and young adults no older than 25 who are at clinical high risk for psychosis and provide evidence-based interventions in a trauma-informed manner to prevent the onset of these conditions. The grant program will fund up to $7.2 million over four years, for up to 18 grantees.

OMH Demonstrating Policy Effectiveness to Promote Black Youth Mental Health Initiative: This initiative aims to identify health and wellness policies that are successful in improving Black youth mental health, including suicide prevention.

Anyone seeking treatment for mental health conditions should call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at (800) 662-HELP (4357) or visit findtreatment.samhsa.gov. If you or a loved one is at risk of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or by visiting suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

More information on the National Tour to Strengthen Mental Health is available at HHS.gov/HHSTour.