Biden Admin Announces $285M Mental Health Initiative

More than 14,000 mental health counselors will be hired and trained with the support of $285 million, according to Vice President Harris’s announcement on Thursday.

During her visit to “a roundtable session focusing on gun violence prevention and keeping students safe,” a White House official said that Harris will announce a middle school in Charlotte, N.C. Miguel Cardona, the secretary of education, will accompany her on her trip.

The $285 million was appropriated from the Safer Communities Act, bipartisan legislation that President Biden signed into law in June 2022 to combat gun violence. An official called the sum “the single greatest investment in student mental health in history.”

On Thursday, Harris will also announce that $6 million would be allocated to school-based community violence reduction programs. The Education Department’s Project Prevent grant program, which seeks to promote initiatives that prevent and lessen the effects of community violence on kids, will provide cash to seven school districts throughout the United States.

The first White House Office on Gun Violence Prevention was formed in September, with Harris presently in charge of it. Funds allocated to seven school districts nationwide through the Project Prevent grant program will be overseen by the Department of Education. These districts will be able to implement strategies aimed at preventing and reducing the effects of community violence on students, such as exposure to gun violence.

Schools in North Carolina, such as Eastway Middle, will have access to mental health counselors because of a $12 million grant. More than 300 counselors will be employed statewide thanks to the funds, according to VP Harris.

Speaking on Thursday, VP Harris urged everyone to pay attention to the problem at hand because it can be changed and because, if left unchecked, it might lead to trauma that affects generations and generations.

Anxiety, sadness, and thoughts of suicide are among the many mental health disorders that students are presenting with at an alarming rate. “During my time with CMS, I have seen or heard of terrible things, including the murder of two former students,” Eastway Middle School counselor Corteasia Riddick said.