Mayor Harrell and Council Member Mosqueda advance millions to increase mental health resources for Seattle students

Supporting Seattle students after the Ingraham High School shooting, increased funding will bring city investments in mental health resources and school-based health centers to $9.4 million in 2023 and $9.6 million dollars in 2024.

Seattle – City Council’s Budget Committee unanimously approved Mayor Bruce Harrell and Councilman Teresa Mosqueda’s joint proposal to increase funding for mental health resources for K-12 students in schools of Seattle by investing a combined total of $4 million over the biennium. This investment of $4 million is in addition to an increased investment of $1 millions in the Mayor’s Proposed Budget, the added $2 million in the Council Member’s Balancing Program, and a joint amendment that invests an additional $1 million in the biennium. This brings the total to $9.4 million in 2023 and $9.6 million in 2024 for mental health services and school health centers.

“Student voices were unequivocal after the heartbreaking shooting at Ingraham High School: To prevent the next tragedy, invest in mental health support and prioritize gun safety” , said Mayor Harrell. “As we enter the final stages of budget deliberations, we are responding to urgent student demands by increasing mental health resources for our students and youth. As we push the state to invest more in this critical need, we are not waiting to ensure students receive expanded support now.

“In times of crisis and loss, it is our paramount responsibility to respond urgently to meet the needs of our community, and in the wake of the tragic shooting at Ingraham High School, we must listen to the voices of students and follow best practices as we prioritize the critical importance of increasing access to mental health resources,” said Budget Chair Mosqueda. “This is a step towards meeting student demands, an indication that we still have a lot of work to do and shows our commitment to doing this work together.”

This investment would increase City funding for mental health supports for students and School Health Centers, which provide increased access to mental health resources, improve health equity and strengthen efforts to screening, intervention and prevention for students in need. Budget action unanimously approved by Council adds $500,000 in 2023 and $500,000 in 2024 for expansion of mental health services for K-12 students using Families, Education funds , Preschool, and Promise Levy, complementing Mayor Harrell’s proposed budget that included a $1 million increase and Councilman Mosqueda’s Balancing Program dedicating $2 million in JumpStart payroll tax funds to K-12 mental health resources.

As described in the State Constitution, funding education is the primary duty of Washington State. While this action provides bridge funding to meet the immediate needs of students, Mayor Harrell and Councilman Mosqueda will continue to push the state to permanently increase ongoing investments in mental health resources, counselors and d other essential services to ensure the behavioral health and well-being of Seattle’s Children.

The municipal council will examine the final adoption of the budget on Monday 28 and Tuesday 29 November.

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