$50M available in mental health funding

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Gov. Kathy Hochul announced up to $50 million in available funding for school districts to improve student access to mental health resources on Wednesday.

The funding will be spread out over the course of 5 years. A Request for Proposals has been issued by the New York State Office of Mental Health. A total of up to $10 million will be distributed to eligible school districts each year.

Gov. Hochul said in a press release that students have been particularly affected by the pandemic.

"I have heard the concerns from many parents and educators about the impact that COVID-19 has had on our children’s well-being. This funding will help ensure that every student who has experienced trauma that has impacted their education can receive the necessary mental health resources they need and deserve."

Eligible proposals will achieve the following goals:

Enhance access to mental health services: Enhancement of mental health staffing and use of a standardized tool to identify student needs are both proven interventions that enhance access to the strategies and supports that address the mental health of students.

Implement integrated mental health supports: Promoting wellness and resilience within the school environment is crucial in supporting the mental health of students and families, particularly in the wake of the global pandemic.

Strengthen partnerships with existing supports within the mental health system as well as the larger child-serving system: Enhancing coordination between school staff and community providers and identifying resources within and outside the school allows educators to understand the full range of services available and ensure students and their families have access to the full array of supports/services they need.

More information about the Request for Proposals is available on the OMH website.