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Binghamton University receives $9.3 million in federal money to train mental-health providers

Binghamton University has received $9.3 million in funding for programs of Binghamton University Community Schools to help train mental-health providers. The programs utilize social-work students to provide services in participating school districts. (Photo credit: Binghamton University)

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — Binghamton University received two five-year awards, totaling $9.3 million, from the U.S. Department of Education for Binghamton University Community Schools (BUCS) to train school-based mental-health providers.

The federal funding comes from the Mental Health Service Provider Demonstration Grant Program.

“Both grants aim to put more social workers in schools, and we have a really great opportunity to do this because we have an excellent social work education program and strong relationships with our local schools,” Naorah Rimkunas, assistant professor of social work at Binghamton University’s College of Community and Public Affairs (CCPA), contended in a news release. “And we can leverage that and put those students who are training to become social workers into schools to offset the shortage of mental-health providers.”


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BUCS will use $5.7 million to fund the Rural Mental Health in Schools Expansion, an initiative to expand support to 3,300 middle and high-school students in the Harpursville, Whitney Point, Windsor, and Owego-Apalachin districts. The initiative builds on a pilot tele-mental-health project where Binghamton University social-work students were trained to provide focused tele mental health virtually to young people. That approach will be implemented in tandem with an in-person method that includes on-site mental-health services with one new social worker placed in each school district and up to four interns who will complete their practicums in each school — up to 16 per year.

The remaining $3.5 million will fund the Family Partner Program, which will serve about 3,700 students in the Chenango Forks and Maine-Endwell school districts. The program will provide additional education to social-work students in those family-engagement practices.



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