Office of Elementary and Secondary Education

School-Based Mental Health Services (SBMH) Grant Program

Key Dates

Solicitation Issue Date: Contingent on Appropriations 

Deadline: Contingent on Appropriations


SEAs or LEAs including consortia of LEAs.

Award Information & Duration

Up to $3,000,000. The Estimated Average Size of Awards is $1,750,000 over 5 years

Estimated # of Awards




The SBMH 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 services providers providing mental health services to students in LEAs with demonstrated need.

The Department of Education aims to help address these mental health needs and provide support to students, families, and schools by using the increased funds available from the FY 2022 Appropriations Act and the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to dramatically increase the number of credentialed school-based mental health services providers in LEAs with demonstrated need through awards in FYs 2022–2026 under the SBMH grant program. 

How this grant can be used:

Absolute Priority – LEAs or Consortia of LEAs with Demonstrated Need Proposing to Increase the Number of Credentialed School-Based Mental Health Services Providers: Only applicable to LEAs or consortia of LEAs. To meet this priority, an LEA or consortium of LEAs with demonstrated need must propose measures to increase the number of credentialed school-based mental health services providers, including plans to address the recruitment and retention of credentialed services providers in the LEA(s).

Competitive Preference Priority  –  Increasing the Number of Credentialed School-Based Mental Health Services Providers in LEAs with Demonstrated Need Who Are from Diverse Backgrounds or from Communities Served by the LEAs with Demonstrated Need: To meet this priority, applicants must propose a plan to increase the number of credentialed school-based mental health services providers in LEAs with demonstrated need who are from diverse backgrounds or who are from communities served by the LEAs with demonstrated need. Applicants must describe how their proposal to increase the number of school-based mental health services providers who are from diverse backgrounds or who are from the communities served by the LEA with demonstrated need will help increase access to mental health services for students within the LEA with demonstrated need and best meet the mental health needs of the diverse populations of students to be served.

Example awardees/programs

Anne Arundel County Public Schools (MD) | 2022 | $249,824

Seeks to address school-based mental health needs through several recruitment and retention efforts, including offering paid internships for school psychology and social work students, targeted mentoring and/or clinical supervision for diverse early career practitioners, a career pathway for LMSW social workers, financial support for professional development and membership in professional organizations, and financial incentives for bilingual social workers. The district will use these recruitment and retention efforts to train, hire and keep highly qualified diverse school psychologists and school social workers, which will directly increase the number and quality of mental health supports that are provided, particularly in community schools.

Pasadena Independent School District (TX) | 2022 | $1,058,482

Seeks to implement the Mental Health is GRRREAT (GRRREAT) Project, by Growing the Recruitment, Retention, and Respecialization of Educators and Therapists in schools to provide stable, sustainable, and effective school-based mental health services that address the unique challenges and needs of our specific student population and are reflective of our community. When comparing Pasadena ISD school-based mental health services provider demographics to student demographics, the data shows the providers are not representative of the student population they serve. Overall, Hispanic/Latinos students make up more than 80% of the student population, but only 42.37% of Service Providers are from the same background. Male service providers are also significantly low, while white students are overrepresented. To address these disparities in representation and fulfill the Competitive Preference Priority, the GRRREAT project will implement the following activities: Social Worker Positions; Community and District Recruitment Initiatives; Mentorship Program; Flexible Options to Complete Training and Receive Licensed Credentials; and Cultural and Linguistic Competency Training.

Corbett School District 39 (OR) | 2022 | $862,079

Proposes a project to address Corbett’s plan to recruit and retain five diverse new licensed school social workers (QMHP) and one licensed mental health grant Coordinator. Mental health service provider numbers will grow from three to eight to effectively provide school based mental health services to a growing diverse student body. Currently, Corbett School District has 1,053 students with a total percentage of students from diverse backgrounds at 21% who experience social isolation, trauma, stress, and anxiety due to COVID 19 and living in a rural area without resources. Corbett School District plans to work with Portland State University School of Social Work and other nearby Oregon universities with recruitment measures that ensure more diverse mental health staff. This project would provide a funding structure for establishing the first school based mental health center in the Corbett area that is inclusive focusing on culturally specific trainings, Suicide Prevention (QPR) training, and trained new mental health staff for LGBQT+ youth who desperately need identity safe services.