HSE Schools to Receive $5.7M Grant for Expansion of Mental Health Services
January 10, 2023
Hamilton Southeastern Schools (HSE) has received a grant of $5,762,815 from the U.S. Department of Education as part of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to increase the number school-based mental health professionals currently serving the district’s 21,500 students.
The School Based Mental Health Services (SBMH) grant will provide funding to recruit, prepare, hire and train highly qualified school-based mental health professionals, which includes school counselors, school psychologists and school social workers over the next 5 years.
“Currently, the ratio of school-based mental health professionals-to-students in Hamilton Southeastern is high, resulting in barriers for K-12 students to access needed supports and interventions,” according to Mental Health and School Counseling Coordinator Brooke Lawson. Lawson, who will help administer the grant, says HSE will focus on adding supports at the secondary level by hiring additional school counselors; primary students will be better served by an increased number of school social workers; and districtwide, extra school psychologists will be added.
The American School Counselor Association recommends 1:250 ratio of school counselors-to-students. The most recent statewide data shows that Indiana ranks last for the number of school counseling professionals serving young Hoosiers.
“We know students can’t perform to the best of their ability when they are experiencing mental health challenges,” said Superintendent Dr. Yvonne Stokes. “Through this grant, HSE has the opportunity to expand its capacity of diverse service providers to address the unique, individual needs of each student and family we serve.”
HSE will begin seeking qualified candidates for these additional positions in the coming weeks.
About School-Based Mental Health Services Grant Program
The SBMH grant program provides competitive grants to State educational agencies (SEAs), Local educational agencies (LEAs), and consortia of LEAs to increase the number of credentialed school-based mental health service providers delivering school-based mental health services to students in LEAs with demonstrated need. The funding was allocated under the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to addressing the nation’s mental health crisis by providing more resources and supports to help schools address students’ mental health needs. Competitive grants were awarded to state and local educational agencies. The grant will provide a total of $144 million each year for 5 years, with an average award size of $1,750,000, ranging from $500,000 to $3,000,000 per year. The U.S. Department of Education previously stated it anticipates making up to 150 awards.