Sinema led the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law, investing $1 billion in mental health funding for Arizona students
FLAGSTAFF – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema hosted a roundtable with education professionals from Northern Arizona University (NAU) to discuss the workforce pipeline for school counselors, psychologists, and social workers, and highlight how her Bipartisan Safer Communities law provides schools with resources to address mental health challenges and expand mental health access for students.
“Arizona schools play a critical role in fostering growth, education, and socialization of our youth — and school psychologists, counselors, and social workers deserve the support needed to help our students succeed. Our Bipartisan Safer Communities law makes historic investments expanding mental health resources to help children learn and grow in healthy, supportive environments, and make our communities safer, more vibrant places,” said Sinema, sponsor and lead negotiator of the Bipartisan Safer Communities law.
The roundtable was hosted at NAU and featured Dr. Ramona Mellott, Dean, College of Education; Dr. Sara Abercrombie, Chair, Department of Educational Psychology; Dr. Shane Haberstroh, Professor, Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program; Dr. Evelyn Burrell, Director, Clinical Psychology Program; Dr. Carlos Calderon, Coordinator School Psychology Program; Dr. Natalie Cawood, Chair, Department of Social Work; Dr. Brandie Reiner, Lecturer, Department of Social Work; Dr. Kathy Bohan, Associate Professor Emerita; Katy Yanez, NAU Associate Vice President, External Affairs and Partnerships; and Karen Pugliesi, Interim Executive Vice-President and University Provost.
Sinema’s Bipartisan Safer Communities Act – which was signed into law in June – includes funding for school-based mental health and supportive services, investments in children and family mental health services, support for state crisis intervention orders, funding for school safety resources, protections for victims of domestic violence, and more.
During the meeting, Sinema highlighted how her bipartisan law provides $500 million in funding to the School Based Mental Health Service Professionals Demonstration Grant, which will help train and diversify the pipeline of school counselors, school social workers, and school psychologists.
Additionally, Sinema pointed to the added $500 million investment through the School Based Mental Health Services Grant Program to increase the number of qualified mental health service providers that offer school based mental health services to students in school districts with demonstrated need. These funds will support innovative partnerships between institutions of higher education, like Northern Arizona University, and eligible schools and school districts to help accelerate training and placement of qualified mental health professionals.