September 7, 2021

RI Delegation Secures $1.8 Million for Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) to Strengthen Youth Mental Health

RHODE ISLAND — U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline today announced that the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) will be receiving $1.8 million in federal funding to strengthen youth mental health. Funded through the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), this funding will be used to increase awareness of mental health issues among students, provide training for school personnel to detect and respond to mental health issues, and connect service providers with students who may have behavioral health issues.

“This is a challenging time and we must ensure mental health supports are in place to assist children and teenagers. This new federal funding will strengthen the capacity of schools and communities to detect and effectively respond to mental health, behavioral health, and substance abuse issues that kids are facing,” said Senator Reed. “Schools must have the tools they need to meet students where they are academically and social-emotionally.”

“It’s been a really tough couple of years for many students and their families. Lots of young people could benefit from quality mental health care right now, and schools are often the best place for them to tap into mental health services,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “That’s why I joined the delegation in voting for this funding, and why I’m very pleased it will help Rhode Island students find the treatment they need.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the mental and behavioral health of our nation’s youth. As students return to school this fall, we must prepare the educators and other school personnel who will be on the front lines of this brewing mental health crisis,” said Rep. Jim Langevin. “I’m proud to announce this federal funding with my colleagues, which will help Rhode Island students, educators and families better identify, treat, and respond to mental health issues. As we recover from the pandemic, we must take extra care to address the lingering mental health impacts that COVID-19 has wrought.”

“It has been an incredibly difficult year and a half, especially for our students who have felt some of the greatest impacts of COVID-19,” said Rep. David Cicilline. “These critical federal dollars will help raise awareness about the mental health challenges young people are facing and strengthen the systems in place to ensure they are receiving the support they need.” “As the Biden-Harris Administration continues to provide a comprehensive approach to combating the COVID-19 pandemic, these programs demonstrate the critical priority of behavioral health for our young people,” said U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Schools represent resources for our children on so many fronts. We’re making sure they’re equipped to better address those needs.”

The SAMHSA grant award was made available through the Department of Health and Human Services’ Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education).

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