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Federal School-Based Mental Health Professionals Grant Program

For the purposes of this grant, SBMH Professionals include school psychologists, school counselors, and school social workers

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Funding for this program is provided under section 4631(a)(1)(B) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA). Accordingly, project activities must be allowable uses of funds pursuant to that authority.

The purpose of the School-Based Mental Health Professionals Grant Program, managed by the Federal Department of Education, is to provide competitive grants to SEAs to increase the number of qualified (i.e., licensed, certified, well-trained, or credentialed, each as defined in the notice inviting applications) mental health service professionals that provide school-based mental health services to students in local educational agencies with demonstrated need (as defined in the notice inviting applications).


This grant from the Department of Education will focus on the following:

  • Increasing the number of qualified school-based mental health service professionals in LEAs with Demonstrated Need through various strategies including targeted recruitment and retention activities.
  • Respecialization training for existing mental health service professionals to qualify for work in LEAs with demonstrated need.
  • Focus on LEAs in rural areas, qualified opportunity zones and LEAs that serve American Indian students.

Wisconsin was awarded the $10 Million grant over 5 years. Wisconsin’s Expanded School-Based Mental Health Professionals Grant Program targets increasing the number of school-based mental health service professionals through a multi-faceted approach. The proposal includes:

  • The recruitment of potential professionals by first reducing barriers to preparation and respecialization through partnerships with our in-state school counseling, psychology, and social work preparation programs. This will be accomplished through the creation or expansion of online preparation options and the respecialization process for individuals who possess community-based mental health licensure or have an advanced degree.
  • Creative ways to attract qualified candidates to rural or urban center local education agencies (LEA) with demonstrated need and that serve an area identified as an opportunity zone.
  • Incentives to a “grow your own” method for encouraging current LEA employees or residents to pursue DPI licensure in a school-based mental health profession.

Project activities will prioritize attracting individuals who reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the local population of the LEA’s community. This project will be a collaborative effort with stakeholders at the state and local level.


new School Based Mental Health Professionals in Wisconsin Document (2023)

This document is intended to provide information to all stakeholders about roles, training, licensing, knowledge, and skills of School Counselors, School Nurses, School Psychologists, School Social Workers, and Credentialed Mental Health Providers. These professionals work collaboratively to meet the many needs of students and staff with their unique skills, training, and expertise through a team-based approach. School systems are best supported when school mental health professionals are employed in sufficient numbers and with a clear understanding of appropriate expectations for their roles. School Based Mental Health Professionals in Wisconsin Document

The Federal School-Based Mental Health Professionals Grant Program has partnered with ten University of Wisconsin Pupil Services Programs to expand opportunities for individuals interested in pursuing a career as a School Psychologist, School Social Worker or School Counselor. View the program descriptions for each of these ten UW Programs - Federal School-Based Mental Health Professionals Grant Program and University of WI Programs Partnerships

DPI has developed a video overview of The Wisconsin School-Based Mental Health Professional Project which highlights the main components of the project and may be shared with staff and stakeholders looking for more information.

Grant Implementation Timeline

Year 1 - Development of infrastructure with Institutes of Higher Education (IHEs) for expanded online licensure programming/pathways for School Psychologists, School Social Workers and School Counselors.

Year 2 - Development and implementation of a selection process for Local Education Agencies with identified needs based on a data algorithm for subgrant awards. Selected districts will be contacted and invited to participate in this project.

More information will be added to the website as it becomes available. 

For questions about this information, contact Karen Horn (608) 224-4003