School-based mental health work gets $13M boost - NBC Boston

More than 30 "high-need" Massachusetts schools are getting funding to establish mental health support programs, Gov. Maura Healey announced Tuesday as the administration looks to curb a youth mental health crisis and help struggling students return to the classroom.

The state is investing $13 million into the Bridge for Resilient Youth in Transition (BRYT) program, which provides academic case management, clinical care, family support, and care coordination as some students acclimate to returning back school full-time after have fallen behind due to mental health concerns. About half of students nationally with mental health challenges end up dropping out of high school, though 95 percent of BRYT students graduate on time, Healey's office said.

Healey announced the plans at Wellesley High School, which launched one of the first BRYT programs over 18 years ago. The $13 million commitment  -- which includes $3 million in federal COVID-19 relief money and $10 million from the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Trust Fund -- is intended to aid schools that lack the financial resources to independently offer the program.

"For the first time ever, we're providing seed funding for BRYT programs -- because we know that critical mental health supports like these shouldn't only be a reality for students in schools with the resources to establish the programming themselves," Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll said in a statement. "We want every student in Massachusetts to thrive scholastically and emotionally. Expanding BRYT brings us one step closer to that goal."

After initial hospital stays, less than 20 percent of BRYT participants are re-hospitalized. Participants also report a 50 percent drop in substance use disorders and self-harming behaviors, Healey's office said.

BRYT programming helps students juggle their mental wellness and academic work, as well as reintegrate socially, Healey's office said. Eight schools have already met the "under resourced, high-need criteria" to launch BRYT programs, including Boston's John D. O'Bryant School, Brockton High School, Everett High School, Lynn Vocational Technical Institute, Malden High School, Springfield's High School of Commerce, Springfield Legacy Academy, and Taunton High School.

Each school will receive $259,000 over 20 months to develop their programs and secure staffing, Healey's office said.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top