California Awards $150 Million to Support Mental Health Programs for Youth and Young Adults

State launches Certified Wellness Coach program and website

SACRAMENTO – As part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s Master Plan for Kids’ Mental Health, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) today awarded $150 million in grants to 262 organizations to support the mental health and wellness of children, youth, and young adults. California also introduced the Certified Wellness Coach program and website to support overall physical, emotional, and mental well-being, and build a more diverse behavioral health workforce to help children and youth.

WHAT GOVERNOR NEWSOM SAID: “As children across California struggle with mental health challenges, we are building the supports they need – in their schools and communities – to improve their health and well-being. These investments are becoming reality through a diverse workforce that is reaching every community. That’s why we are launching a new program to hire coaches in this space and support wellness for all children and young adults.”

Through the $150 million in grants to 262 organizations to support the mental health and wellness of children, youth, and young adults, California is improving access to critical behavioral health interventions and services, including those focused on culturally responsive prevention, early intervention, and resiliency and recovery:

  • $100 million for trauma-informed practices and programs – designed to address the impact of trauma and support the resilience of children and youth by mitigating the adverse effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).Through this award, DHCS is expanding access to trauma-informed behavioral health services across various settings in 58 California counties.

  • $50 million for youth-driven programs – designed to provide a safe space for youth and young adults (ages 12-25) by expanding youth-driven community center programs, where young people can access a variety of services and supports in a single location, and other youth-led practices. DHCS, in collaboration with the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission, is expanding youth-driven programs in 30 California counties.

WHAT FIRST PARTNER JENNIFER SIEBEL NEWSOM SAID: “The mental health crisis– particularly amongst youth– is one of the most significant public health concern of our time. Through investments in the behavioral health care workforce and innovative partnerships between government and community-based organizations, we’re building out the support infrastructure necessary to meet California children and families where they are to ensure they have the comprehensive behavioral health care services they need to not just survive but thrive.”

EXAMPLE OF WORK BEING FUNDED: The allcove™ youth drop-in centers aim to increase access to affordable mental health and wellness services – for youth between the ages of 12 and 25 and their families – that includes behavioral health, physical health, housing, education, and employment support, and linkage to other services. They will provide culturally competent and relevant services for vulnerable and marginalized youth populations, including, but not limited to, LGBTQ+, homeless, and Indigenous youth. The design of the allcove™ centers will be youth-driven with ongoing participation from youth through the establishment of allcove™ youth advisory groups. The overall goal of funding allcove™ centers is to reduce suicide and suicide ideation, homelessness, unemployment, and school failure.

WHAT DHCS DIRECTOR MICHELLE BAASS SAID: “Early intervention programs and practices that aim to address and mitigate the impacts of trauma offer a solution and step in the right direction for California’s children, youth and families. Youth driven programs are an important community support because they are designed with, by, and for youth and young adults to help reduce stigma, embrace mental wellness, and increase community connection.”

Learn More About the Grants Here

The new Certified Wellness Coaches program will work in schools and with community-based organizations, supporting existing clinical staff and care teams, to provide wellness promotion, education, support, and referral services to all California youth.

The Department of Health Care Access and Information is working with state universities and community colleges to develop curriculum that will be available in Fall 2024 for interested candidates with no prior education or experience.

WHAT HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY DR. MARK GHALY SAID: “The Certified Wellness Coach program is an integral component of our work to reimagine and build a stronger, more effective ecosystem of behavioral health services and supports for children and youth in California. This work has only been possible because of the collaboration of our many partners.”

The Wellness Coach certificate will initially be free when it is launched in 2024. Annual scholarships will be available to help with educational and related expenses, and employer support grants will be available to assist organizations with hiring new Wellness Coaches.

Learn How to Become a Certified Wellness Coach Here