CHARLOTTE, NC – Yesterday in North Carolina, Vice President Kamala Harris announced an additional $285 million in funding to help schools across the country hire and train mental health counselors. This funding is a result of the historic Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which will help hire and train more than 14,000 school mental health professionals as part of the single largest investment in student mental health in history. This will add more than 300 new mental health counselors in North Carolina alone. Vice President Harris also announced $6.4 million in new grants from the U.S. Department of Education to address community violence.
“Easy access to guns — combined with unaddressed mental health issues — is lethal, and investing in student mental health is the definition of a common-sense step to reduce gun violence,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “This investment wouldn’t be possible if Congress hadn’t come together to pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, and it’s yet another example of the Biden-Harris Administration using every tool at its disposal to address gun violence, which is now the leading cause of death for America’s young people.”
“Guns are the number one killer of young people in America – and countless others have been traumatized by the realities of a culture where they risk being exposed to gun violence simply going about their everyday lives,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action. “We are so grateful to have the strongest gun safety administration in history continue to take meaningful action on gun safety. The Biden-Harris Administration understands that to fully address our gun violence crisis, we must address it holistically, and that includes the toll the trauma of this crisis takes on the mental health of our communities and our young people. This historic investment will save countless lives.”
“Access to quality mental health services is absolutely critical in our mission to reduce gun violence,” said Kyle Lumsden, a volunteer leader with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Students Demand Action chapter. “My generation is no stranger to the devastating impacts of firearm suicide, which takes more than a thousand young lives every year, and this live-saving investment will help so many students in need. We can’t thank the Biden-Harris Administration enough for keeping their campaign promises and facing America’s gun violence crisis head on.”