N.M. Lawmakers Welcome Over $5 Million For Youth Mental Health Resources

WASHINGTON (Sept. 7, 2021) – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.) and Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.) are welcoming $5,335,636 in federal funding for the New Mexico Public Education Department to create awareness about youth mental health resources.

“It is critical that we provide support and mental health services to every student in New Mexico who needs them - especially after the unprecedented experiences youth have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Heinrich. “I’m proud to welcome this federal funding to raise awareness of youth mental health issues and the training needed to ensure New Mexico’s children have somewhere to turn to for help.”

“Mental health resources are crucial for the health and well-being of New Mexico students and children,” said Luján. “Following the challenging year that New Mexicans have faced, I’m glad to see this investment to increase awareness of our students’ mental health issues and train school faculty to identify and respond to mental health issues whenever they arise.” 

“Our kids are hurting and we need them to know there are mental health resources available that can help” said Leger Fernández. “This funding will help New Mexico provide children and their families with behavioral and mental health care as we recover from the pandemic’s devastating impact on the mental health of our children.”

“We must work to end mental health stigma and ensure our students and families have access to the resources they need to thrive,” said Stansbury. “Our young people have faced isolation, anxiety, and unprecedented hardships during this pandemic, and I am proud that this federal funding will support the needs of students across New Mexico so we can enhance our state’s mental health resources and programming. Beyond the pandemic, our amazing students here in CD-1 have been advocating and working with Albuquerque Public Schools and the Legislature to secure additional mental health funding for our schools, and I am excited to see additional funds come to New Mexico to support these programs.” 

The funding is part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education). This project helps build or expand state and local governments’ coordination to increase awareness of mental health issues among school-aged youth. Additionally, it will provide training for school personnel and other adults who interact with school-aged youth to detect and respond to mental health issues, and connect to services school-aged youth who may have behavioral health issues – including serious emotional disturbance (SED) or serious mental illness (SMI) – and their families.

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