Governor Bill Lee Renews Proposal For Mental Health Trust Fund

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Governor Bill Lee re-introduced the Mental Health Trust Fund in a renewed proposal to assist K-12 families who are facing significant mental health issues in the wake of COVID-19. This proposal allocates $250 million in available funds to create strong mental health services for school-aged students through a systemwide, evidence-based approach.

“The mental health of all Tennessee students is essential to their safety, education and success beyond the classroom,” said Governor Lee. “While my administration proposed these critical mental health supports last year, we now have the available funding and a greater need than ever before to ensure our students have access to mental health resources. I thank the members of the General Assembly for their partnership in this important effort.”

“We know the earlier we can intervene, the better outcomes are for children and families,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW. “The services that will be funded by this investment will allow us to increase the services available from community mental health providers and schools, preventing children from entering mental health crisis situations and ending up in an emergency room.”

Services supported by the Mental Health Trust Fund would include:

There is a significant need for strong K-12 mental health supports:

The Lee administration has taken strong action to address mental health:

·Behavioral Health Safety Net for Children: Essential mental health supports for uninsured children age 3-17 beginning September 2020

·School Based Behavioral Health Liaison (SBBHL) Expansion:Expanded proven program to all 95 counties

·TN Suicide Prevention Network: Expanded regional directors to increase coverage and boosted training in suicide prevention

·Youth and Young adult Mental Health Awareness and Promotion:Funding granted to three separate programs that reached more than 11,000 individuals