March 30, 2023

Duckworth, Durbin Announce $2.3 Million for School-Based Mental Health Training


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced $2.3 million from the U.S. Department of Education Mental Health Service Professionals Demonstration Program for DePaul University, Northeastern Illinois University, and the Illinois State Board of Education. This funding, which was provided by last year’s landmark gun violence reduction law, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, will support the training of school-based mental health service providers for employment in schools and local education agencies (LEAs) across Illinois.

 “By increasing resources for mental health support training, we are also strengthening the pipeline of well-rounded professionals who can help young Illinoisans in schools,” Duckworth said. “I will keep working with Senator Durbin to help ensure organizations across our state have what they need for high-quality mental healthcare training.”

“There is a growing mental health crisis amongst today’s youth that must be addressed,” said Durbin. “However, there is a shortage of mental health professionals to meet the demands. I’ve made it a priority to increase funding for programs that build the pipeline of mental health professionals to ensure our children have access to resources that can help put them on a path toward success.”

The Department of Education’s Mental Health Service Professionals Demonstration Program provides funding to support and demonstrate innovative partnerships to train school-based mental health services providers for employment in schools and LEAs. The goal of this program is to increase the number and diversity of high-quality, trained providers available to address the shortages of mental health service professionals in schools and high-needs LEAs.

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which Durbin and Duckworth supported, represented the most significant gun safety reform in nearly 30 years. Among other provisions, it provides more than $3 billion in appropriations for school and community-based mental health and trauma-informed care. Durbin secured an additional $250 million in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act for community-based violence initiatives, including improving mental health access.