Funding School-Based Mental Health

Significant state funding has been directed towards children and youth mental health support, primarily through the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative (CYBHI).

This initiative, which launched in 2021, has begun a transformation of how school-based mental health services can be delivered, supported and sustained. 

There are many different ways that schools can knit together resources to address the mental health needs of students. Mental health services can be financed through a variety of local, state, and federal funding streams. Included here are several resources that provide funding strategies to support collaborations that link students to mental health services.

Principles for Funding School Mental Health

  • Funding can be used for various school-based services; but there are strategic ways to use funding to support a comprehensive system.
  • Schools shouldn’t feel like they have to create services on their own. Schools, counties, and community providers should work together.
  • School mental health services meet the educational and health care needs of students.
  • All three tiers of the Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) are important to creating a comprehensive school mental health system. Investing in Tier 1 (schoolwide prevention) and Tier 2 (targeted interventions) are just as important as investing in traditional, one-on-one mental health inventions (Tier 3).

Funding Resources for School Mental Health

Sustaining & Growing Behavioral Health Services at School-Based Health Centers

This guide provides SBHCs run by FQHCs in California tools to maximize the reimbursement to which they are entitled in providing critically needed mental health care to eligible students. It is for use by FQHCs that operate or plan to operate SBHCs in California. Download the guide. Watch a recording of our 2021 conference workshop on billing advice.

Public Funding for School Mental Health Programs

There are many different ways that schools can knit together resources to address the mental health needs of students. Make public funding work for you and maximize your return on investment in mental health with the strategies presented in this toolkit.

How LEAs and Partners Can Braid New Funding to Support School-Based Health Centers

Regularly updated! The California School-Based Health Alliance (CSHA) has a new guide for 2022 to assist in local planning and strategy that shows local education agencies (LEAs) and partners how they can braid together new state funding opportunities – including the Student Behavioral Health Incentive Program (SBHIP) and the Behavioral Health Continuum Infrastructure Program (BHCIP) – to support new school-based health centers (SBHCs) or expand and improve existing SBHCs.

Connecting Students to Mental Health Services

Our guide explores how seven counties are working collaboratively to provide school-linked mental health services, share financial resources to pay for these services, and address local issues such as truancy or recidivism by increasing access to mental health services for students.

School Mental Health Primer for Medi-Cal Managed Plans

This guide from the California Children’s Trust and the National Center for Youth Law gives Medi-Cal managed care plans an overview of school-based mental health, the education system and partners, and highlights the role that SBHCs play in delivering mental health care.

Practical Guide for Financing Social, Emotional, and Mental Health in Schools

From the California Children’s Trust and Breaking Barriers, this guide provides five models for school district leaders interested in exploring partnerships and accessing Medi-Cal to meet the social, emotional, and mental health needs of students in schools.

We offer technical assistance consulting hours for organizations that are members of the California School-Based Health Alliance. You can learn more about membership and join right here on our website!