School-Based Mental Health Programs: Why They’re Needed and How to Fund Them

  • At the federal level, funding sources include block grants, Title funds, project grants, legislative earmarks, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grants, and direct payments and fee-for-service (Medicaid).
  • State funding sources vary by state. In certain states taxes from select sources are used to fund mental health and education. Some states dedicate a line item in their budget for mental health services. State grants and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are other viable sources.
  • At the local level, school districts can allocate a portion of their budget for school mental health funding. Principals’ discretionary funds, and PTA funding are also potential sources. Tier 3 school-based programs can provide their own source of funding. These programs reduce the number of out-of-district placements, and this savings can cover the cost of the school-based program.
  • Lastly, consider private foundations. According to NCSMH, this funding can be very flexible and may provide funding for pilot projects or mental health prevention and promotion activities.

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