Unfortunately, parents and kids will be navigating another pandemic school year. And the Biden administration understands how stressful this is to parents and kids, and they want to help. So the administration has announced close to $85 million in funding to help our kids with mental health treatment, training, and awareness programs. Here’s what parents need to know.
According to NPR, there’s been a significant rise in kids seeking mental health support through emergency departments around the country. This year has been stressful, and there’s been so much change and loss for our kids.
“Pediatricians and child and adolescent psychologists and psychiatrists have seen more kids with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and suicidal thinking and attempts over the past year,” the publication reports. Indeed, the rates of kids struggling mentally during the pandemic have undoubtedly and reasonably skyrocketed.
The new investment will include $74.2 million in grants being distributed through several organizations, including the Substance Abuse and Mental health Services Administration, to help raise awareness about mental health issues youth experience. It will also help fund training school staff and programs to coordinate treatment for struggling kids and teens.
In addition, $10.7 million will be released through American Rescue Plan funds from the Health Resources and Services Administration for the Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program. Its role will be to train primary care providers to treat and refer kids experiencing mental health struggles.
“We know what’s coming,” Xavier Becerra, Health and Human Services Secretary, said while announcing the funding at Children’s Hospital New Orleans. “The wave of stress, the mental strain, the disorientation and disassociation that so many of our children are feeling today — they’re going to need help, and not just from their parents and their loved ones, they’re going to need help from us all.”
And that’s what this new funding aims to do – providing an avenue for parents to get help for their kids who are struggling. Somewhere that’s not the emergency room, and hopefully, being able to intervene before emergency care is needed.
“It’s a great first start, from our perspective, and certainly an acknowledgment of the challenges and the problems,” says Amy Knight, president of the Children’s Hospital Association, told NPR.
And that’s important to note, too. Mental health services are lacking across the country, particularly for kids, and the problem will not go away whenever the pandemic does. But it’s definitely a step in the right direction.