$108 million is being made available by the state for New York school districts to support student well-being through expanding mental health support. The new State matching fund, the $100 million Recover from COVID School Program, will provide funding to create or expand programs to help students address trauma caused by the pandemic, prioritizing school districts with the highest need. Additionally, a portion of the $100 million Recover from COVID School Program is available to address student learning loss exacerbated by the pandemic. Governor Kathy Hochul is also expanding school-based mental health clinics across the state through an $8.3 million investment.
“The effects of the pandemic on our students were devastating and irreversible – that’s why we’re making historic investments to address learning loss and expand mental health support in our schools,” Governor Hochul said. “By pinpointing where students have fallen behind and getting them the mental health resources they need, this funding will help put New York students back on the path towards success.”
Individual school districts or BOCES, a consortium of school districts or BOCES, or any combination of these entities may apply for the Mental Health Recover from COVID School Program (RECOVS) Grant and the Learning Loss RECOVS Grant. A total of $100 million in funding is available to support these RECOVS grants.
The Mental Health RECOVS Grant objectives charge school districts and BOCES applicants to:
- Expand student access to school-based mental health professionals, evidence-based and evidence-informed interventions, programming, services, supports, and practices that promote mental health and wellness
- Improve capacity for school staff and students to identify mental health concerns and increase help-seeking behaviors
- Implement a variety of evidence-based and evidence-informed school-based mental health interventions and practices that are culturally, linguistically, and trauma-responsive while promoting student diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Ensure financial stability and continuation of student access to evidence-based and evidence-informed school-based mental health interventions, programs services, and supports beyond the second and final year of the RECOVS Mental Health Grant Program
The Learning Loss RECOVS Grant objectives charge school districts and BOCES applicants to:
- Expand student access to academic recovery professionals, evidence-based and evidence-informed interventions, programming, services, supports and promising practices that counter learning loss
- Improve capacity for school staff and students to identify learning loss, and increase student and staff resourcefulness and skills in seeking, receiving, and providing academic recovery supports
- Implement a variety of evidence-based and evidence-informed school-based learning loss and academic recovery practices that are culturally, linguistically, and trauma responsive while promoting student diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Ensure financial stability and continuation of evidence-based and evidence-informed school-based academic recovery opportunities for students continuing to experience learning loss beyond the second and final year of the RECOVS Learning Loss Grant Program
Funding will be awarded over two years ($50 million annually). Application submissions are due by August 18, 2023, at 5 pm. More information and application details can be found here. Funding for RECOVS was included in New York State’s enacted budget for State Fiscal Year 2022-2023.
Additionally, $8.3 million is available for grants to create school-based mental health clinics. The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) today issued a Request for Applications to provide up to $25,000 in start-up costs for OMH-licensed providers to create new school-based mental health clinic satellites and to support recently established school-based mental health clinic satellites. An additional $20,000 ($45,000 total) will be available for clinics being established in high-needs districts where more than 50 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged. Application submissions are due by October 5, 2023, at 1 pm. More information and application details can be found here.
Earlier this year, Governor Hochul directed OMH and the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to conduct a state-wide Youth Mental Health Listening Tour to receive direct input from middle and high school students on how their schools can better promote student wellness.
OMH and OCFS compiled information they gathered during the Listening Tour and presented a report to the Governor on their findings. School-based mental health clinics were frequently mentioned during the listening sessions by students, parents, caregivers and mental health advocates as a way to help young people struggling with mental health issues. The Governor released the report during the first-ever New York State Summit on Youth Mental Health which was attended by more than 1,000 mental health professionals, advocates, and other stakeholders.