HRSA awards total of $66 million to support behavioral health workforce

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) this week awarded $22 million to 56 recipients across the country as part of its Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Program for Professionals.

The program, which provides grant money to professional training programs and institutes of higher education, aims to increase access to behavioral health services by supporting the growth and quality of the behavioral health workforce.

This latest round of funding brings the total BHWET awards to nearly $66 million for FY 2021.



HRSA says the new grant awardees will use the funding to train graduate students in psychology, social work, and other mental health disciplines, with a particular focus on working with children and youth at risk for behavioral health disorders.

The funding also aims to support behavioral health workforce training in underserved communities, where workforce shortages are particularly challenging.

According to data compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation, over 119 million individuals in the United States live in a mental health care professional shortage area. Shortages are particularly prevalent in rural parts of the country.

Acting HRSA Administrator Diana Espinosa says:

“Collaborating with community-based partners such as public health organizations, hospitals, and schools presents an opportunity to reduce disparities in access to behavioral health services…Through these experiential training opportunities, members of the behavioral health workforce will get on-the-ground training in the communities and with the populations they will serve.”

Of the $66 million awarded this year, all but 7 states have received funding through BHWET.

California received a total of $5.5 million spread across 14 recipients including $474,537 to San Francisco State University and $479,998 to Loma Linda University.

Over $4 million has been awarded to Texas programs, $2.26 million is going to Florida, and $1.73 million is slated for Virginia.

The full list of awardees is available here.