The Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness, county Education Office and local school districts have been awarded a $4 million grant from the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission.
Funds from the grant will focus on crisis services for children and youth with a specific focus on underserved populations. The collaboration between Behavioral Wellness, SBCEO and the 20 school districts in the county will serve students K through 12 to increase access to youth mental health services in education.
“Mental health is one of the most critical areas we can support, particularly during this pandemic, and we are so grateful for these funds to serve youth, families, and educators over the next four years,” Dr. Susan C. Salcido, Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools, said in a statement. “This grant will provide new opportunities for our county’s students and their families to navigate and engage in mental health services through Behavioral Wellness and community organizations.”
Despite 40 counties applying for the grant, Santa Barbara County was only one of eight counties that received funding for new or emerging partnerships.
Behavioral Wellness and SBCEO will be spending the next few weeks planning with schools and community partners on how to use the grant funding effectively. The funding award will be brought before the Board of Supervisors once the item can be agendized.
“Behavioral Wellness is excited to partner with the education community to better meet the needs of students and their families. This newly established partnership will help with early identification and linkage to specialty mental-health services for youth who need this most,” Dr. Alice Gleghorn, director for the Department of Behavioral Wellness, said in a statement. “The unique mental health needs for students and families related to the pandemic is recognized as significant as we enter the coming school year.”
For more information, visit the department’s website at countyofsb.org/behavioral-wellness.