Nearly $20 million coming to districts to hire mental health providers

On Friday, Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced
that four Oregon School Districts will receive a combined nearly $20 million in
competitive grants from the U.S. Department of Education to hire additional
licensed mental health providers over the next five years.

Wyden said, “students, teachers and counselors across
Oregon tell me just how crucial school-based mental health services are to
young people facing challenges at home and in the classroom – but these
services are stretched to the breaking point”. Wyden said while he is
gratified to see this investment in Douglas, Jackson and Multnomah county
school districts, more providers are needed state-and nationwide.

Merkley said, “Mental health care is essential health
care, especially for school-age kids, which is why I introduced the Elementary
and Secondary School Counseling Act to put more providers in schools”.
Merkley said children’s success in the classroom is more than just test scores,
“…and with the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic and other unprecedented
global and weather events greatly impacting the growth and experience of our
school-aged kids, we must invest in programs that provide social and emotional
support to all students”.

A release from the senators said the School Based Mental
Health grant program through the U.S. Department of Education provides funds
intended to recruit and retain school-based mental health service providers, as
well as increase the diversity and cultural/linguistic competency among
providers. The grant allocations are:

  • $6,808,215
    to the Douglas Education Service District
  • $2,649,732
    to Jackson County School District #4 Phoenix-Talent Schools
  • $5,538,155
    to School District 1J Multnomah County
  • $4,918,177
    to Corbett School District 39

The release included words of thanks from each of the

Douglas ESD Superintendent Analicia Nicholson said,
“This grant will play a critical role to expand mental health support
throughout thirteen component school districts in Douglas County. The increased
services will positively impact our students, families, staff and