Increasing Funds for Student Mental Health Services

Increasing Funds for Student Mental Health Services

As many schools already struggle to find space in their budget to cover academic needs due to chronic underfunding, implementing important student services––such as mental health services, programs to promote student wellbeing, and hiring additional school psychologists or counselors––often gets pushed aside as schools allocate funds to support their other needs. Student mental health is a critical issue that needs to be addressed, but many schools struggle to find the resources and funding necessary to meet the mental health needs of every student.

Without access to mental health support at school, many students cannot obtain the essential services they need to support mental health. Because mental wellbeing is so important to students’ academic success, it’s critical for schools to provide or be able to access these services. Increasing funds to support student mental health would help ensure mental health supports are available for those in need.

Here are a few resources for increasing mental health funding in schools:

The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools

This site offers a host of different resources that address children’s mental health issues and access to care, particularly in schools. One of their top resources is “A Guide to Federal Education Programs That Can Fund K-12 Universal Prevention and Social and Emotional Learning Activities,” a useful guide which is intended to help districts take advantage of federal education funding through K-12 grant programs in the U.S. Department of Education. These funds could be used to implement prevention efforts in elementary and secondary school. The Center also lists grant alerts that can be useful to schools and school leadership searching for funding opportunities.

American Counseling Association (ACA)

The ACA is a strong advocate for the increase of grant money and funding for school counseling. They push for funding increases for school-based counseling services and for the passage of legislation dedicated to supporting student mental health such as the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Act. The ACA is also a useful resource for identifying federal funding programs for counseling services.

Office of Elementary & Secondary Education (U.S. Department of Education)

The Office of Elementary & Secondary Education is dedicated to supporting K-12 schools and students. One division is the Office of Safe and Supportive Schools (OSSS), which addresses the health, well-being, safety, and security of K-12 students and schools. The OSSS provides access to several federal funding programs for mental health and counseling services in schools.


GrantWatch is a useful resource for identifying available grants for mental health services. While grants are listed by category and some grants are for nonprofits or other organizations, there are a plethora of options for schools to apply for––some of which are region- or state-specific.

U.S. Department of Education (ED)

ED offers several different types of grants for schools, including several specific to student mental health. Their grants page gives easy access to available grant programs, as well as eligibility requirements and application guidance.

External referral sources, such as LearnWell Counseling services

Funding sources for schools can be limited, so some schools may consider providing referrals to outside partners, such as LearnWell Counseling services for districts, for comprehensive student mental health support. LearnWell provides counseling options at low- to no-cost to the school district through students’ personal health insurance.

These are only a few of the ways schools can access funding and resources for student mental health, and new grants and legislation are introduced each year. As more opportunities for covering the costs of mental health services in schools become available, schools can implement greater supports for students to promote positive mental health and overall well-being.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Contact LearnWell to learn more about our counseling services.

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