[St. Paul, MN] – Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan today announced a $3 million investment in mental health services for children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The $3 million investment will be funded with federal dollars through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which was authorized by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“Too many families suffered from mental health crises without knowing where to turn even before COVID-19,” said Governor Walz. “More than ever, it’s critical that essential mental health services be readily available to our children and their families across the state.”
“Our children’s mental health and wellbeing is of utmost concern and we know that COVID-19 has made access to services more challenging, especially for students who receive mental health services through schools.” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “Mental health providers have struggled with increased costs associated with critical care supplies, appointment spacing, and social distancing of in-person treatment. At a time when we need mental health care more than ever, we must support them.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children and families across Minnesota,” said Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “These funds will provide additional resources for the renowned school-linked mental health program and the providers who are helping children and families cope with the isolation and stress brought on by distance learning and increased isolation they are experiencing.”
The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), in collaboration with the Children’s Cabinet and the Minnesota Department of Education, will administer the $3 million investment to support the mental health needs of children, youth, and families.
The funds will be distributed to school-linked mental health providers and other mental health providers who serve children and families with young children. The funds may be used to mitigate service interruptions and prioritize in-person services, purchase critical care supplies, cover public health-related training costs, and address the behavioral health needs of communities of color and Native communities related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Funds are expected to be awarded to eligible applicants by the end of November 2020.