Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Tuesday a new program -- as part of the Affordable Care Act -- that will boost the number of social workers and psychologists who work in rural areas and with military personnel, veterans and their families.
The Mental and Behavioral Health Education and Training grant program is funding $9.8 million to 24 graduate social work and psychology schools and programs for three-year grants.
The grants will help eligible institutions of higher education -- including accredited schools of social work and psychology and accredited psychology internship programs -- to recruit students and provide support for clinical training in mental and behavioral health.
"Mental health services are critical for those dealing with post-traumatic stress and other severe problems," Sebelius said in a statement. "Increasing the number and quality of providers to care for these individuals is a major step forward in addressing these challenges."
Mental health conditions are among the top five U.S. chronic illnesses, and this program addresses a critical need for more mental and behavioral health providers, especially those trained in trauma and abuse, combat-related stress, substance abuse and the needs of chronically ill people and their families, Sebelius said.