WASHINGTON (KTVZ) – Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., announced the U.S. Department of Education will be awarding Portland State University and Oregon State University a combined total of over $1.6 million to support training programs for school-based mental health providers under the Mental Health Service Professionals Demonstration Program.  

“Mental health care is essential health care, especially for school-aged kids, which is why I have fought to put more providers in schools,” said Merkley, who is the author of the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Act. “I’m grateful that Oregon is receiving this crucial funding for the training of school-based mental health professionals to help support students from all backgrounds thrive. Our children’s success in the classroom is more than just test scores, and we must invest more in programs that are working to support our students across the state.” 

“Students, parents, 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—and we must pull out all the stops to bolster our state’s school-based mental health workforce,” said Wyden, who is leading bipartisan legislation to transform youth mental health services in Oregon and across the nation. “While I am gratified to see this investment in two Oregon universities, I’m all in to remove barriers so that all students can benefit from school-based mental health care.”

The Department of Education’s Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Grant Program provides competitive grants to support and demonstrate innovative partnerships to train school-based mental health service providers for employment in schools and local educational agencies (LEAs).