Part of the federal pandemic relief funding included the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds program (ESSER). Many schools used the funds to provide videoconference mental health services for their students. With the ESSER funds scheduled to expire in October 2024, school districts are reviewing whether they can continue to offer the telehealth services. As one educator told the journalist, “It's hard to provide a great service. We are in that predicament of how do we continue it? Where do we even begin to start justifying the dollar amount for mental wellness for our students?”
Mental health services have become an essential adjunct to educational programs in many school systems. As always, however, funding those services is the challenge. School systems that want to continue providing mental health services will need to start working with parents to find alternative funding sources.