Hire Mental Health Professionals: Four Oregon school districts will share over $20 million in competitive grants from the U.S. Department of Education to fund the hiring of extra licensed mental health providers over the next five years, as announced by Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley on Friday.
Nearly $20 Million Will Be Spent In Districts To Hire Mental Health Professionals
Wyden said, “students, instructors, and counselors across Oregon tell me precisely how vital school-based mental health services are to young people facing issues at home and in the classroom — but these programs are pushed to the breaking point.” While Wyden is pleased to see additional funding for schools in Douglas, Jackson, and Multnomah counties, he believes that more service providers are required across the state and the country.
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When asked why he introduced the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Act, Merkley responded, “Mental health treatment is vital health care, especially for school-age youngsters.”
With the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic and other unprecedented global and weather events greatly impacted the growth and experience of our school-aged kids. We must invest in programs that provide social and emotional support for all students, Merkley said, arguing that children’s academic success is more than just measured by test scores.
According to a press release from the senators, the United States Department of Education’s School-Based Mental Health grant program offers funding with the goal of increasing the diversity and cultural/linguistic competency of providers of school-based mental health services. These are the breakdowns of the grant money:
The Douglas Educational Service District will receive $6,808,215 in funding.
Phoenix-Talent Schools in Jackson County, Florida, received $2,649,732 in funding.
*$5,538,155 to Multnomah County School District 1J
To the Corbett School District 39, $4,918,177*
District officials were thanked in the press release.
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“This award will play a crucial role in expanding mental health support throughout all thirteen component school districts in Douglas County,” said Analicia Nicholson, superintendent of the Douglas Educational Service District. Students, parents, teachers, and members of the community will all benefit from the expanded offerings.
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