More than 40% of teenagers state that they struggle with persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, and more than half of parents and caregivers express concern over their children’s mental well-being. In response to the current youth mental health crisis, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was recently passed, which will invest $1 billion over the next five years in mental health support in our schools.
New programs will increase awareness and access to mental health support for school-aged youth. Funding will also help increase the number of mental health professionals working in schools. Additionally, training will be expanded for pediatric providers and first responders in the prevention, treatment and referral of services for mental and behavioral health conditions. The 9-8-8 suicide and crisis lifeline will also be enhanced to better support youth in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
A variety of activities will receive support that improves conditions for student learning and create positive school climates, including extracurricular, after-school and summer programs with a focus on reengaging youth. In addition, the Department of Education will offer grants for programs that build relationships between students and educators in ways that help students feel less isolated and more connected to their school with the intent to improve their overall mental health and well-being.