TAMPA, Fla. — Millions of dollars are being allocated to address the mental health needs of students in Hillsborough County.  

About $7.7 million will be going straight to mental health resources.

What You Need To Know

  • $7.7 million going toward mental health resources for Hillsborough County students

  • District officials said  staff members referred more than 14,300 students last school year for mental health services 

  • Hillsborough County schools

According to data provided by Hillsborough County Public Schools, student services staff members referred more than 14,300 students last school year for mental health services or assistance.

Under a detailed plan for how the district plans to use their mental health assistance allocation, it states that over 70 schools will have a mental health therapist on site to assist students.

“In Hillsborough County we’re very fortunate to have student services teams,” explained Elizabeth Tanner, Supervisor of Emotional Wellness for the district. “It’s not just the counselor, we have a psychologist and a social worker, but we want to be able to recruit and add more team members.”

The district has created a number of community partnerships to help provide these resources. They include Drug Abuse Comprehensive Coordinating Office, Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, Chrysalis Health, Gracepoint, Healing Education Alternatives for Deserving Students, Northside Behavior Health Center, Children’s Home Society, Elite DNA, Invo Healthcare, Phoenix Counseling, and Success 4 Kids and Families.

Tanner says even with a bigger budget from the state for mental health services, hiring for these positions isn’t easy.

“Unfortunately there is a shortage sometimes of these qualified personnel, so we’re always looking to make sure were interviewing as quickly as we can and on boarding but that is sometimes a barrier,” she said.

With the additional funding, the district says their goal is to increase the ratio of mental health professionals to students.