Grants for mental health services: options and how to apply
June 11, 2024

Grants are a valuable means to grow your mental health private practice. Whether you’re in the early stages and in need of funds to furnish your clinic or acquire technology, grants are great resources to look into. 

In this blog, we will cover what grants are, available grants for mental health services, and how to apply. 

What are grants? 

A grant is a sum of money given by an organization or the government to help fund a cause. This cause could be some scientific research, a private project, or supporting small entrepreneurs. Unlike loans, you don’t have to refund a grant. 

Grants are usually dished out for free because, at the end of the day, the project it funds will have an impact on the economy or community development. 

For example, a professional like you can help bolster the mental health situation of society, and your practice shrinks unemployment while contributing to the country’s GDP.

And that’s one of the many reasons the government provides several grant opportunities for innovative small businesses and nonprofits.

Eligibility criteria for grants

Most grants are designed for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofits, but there’s a plethora geared toward small businesses. Of course, your mental health private practice may qualify as a small business. 

Overall, every funding opportunity will have different eligibility requirements, so you have to look into the specifics to know which grant option aligns with your brand.

Note: Almost all small business grants are for existing businesses. If you’ve not yet started or registered your business, you stand a better chance of seeking small business loans instead. 

How does a mental health private practice benefit from grants?

If you wonder how grants can help your mental health practice, here are some benefits:

  • Grants provide the marketing dollar you need to grow and scale your mental health private practice. 
  • If you need funds to hire more mental health professionals and administrative staff into your private practice, grants can be the answer.
  • Government grants can cover a sizable cost of your operational infrastructure, from purchasing electronic health record systems and diagnostic technologies to creating a centralized database. 

Where to find grants This is the first place to look if you’re searching for small business funding opportunities. From loans to grants and everything in between, this resource holds a comprehensive database of federal government grants. You can use filters to narrow your search results. 

SBA: Small Business Administration (SBA) helps small businesses find funding opportunities, especially loans. But they also point you in the direction of available small business grants from time to time.

Available Grant opportunities for mental health services

Below are government grants you can use in your mental health private practice:

  1. This is a great government database of grant opportunities of diverse types. Under “Assistant Type”, you’ll find Project Grants, Formula Grants, and other grant opportunities designed to help you fund specific projects in your mental health practice, such as capacity building, administrative projects, etc. Check back from time to time since a grant suitable for your needs may not always be available. 
  2. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Grants: These funding opportunities are for small businesses in the science and technology industry. If your mental health practice involves research, you may qualify for an NIST grant. 

The following are Corporate grants you can use in your mental health practice:

  1. Lending Tree: Although Lending Tree primarily offers business loans, they occasionally run business grant contests. Founders who are most passionate and whose services positively impact their communities stand a better chance of winning.
  2. National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE): As a mental health private practice, you’re basically self-employed and may qualify for the $4,000 grant that NASE awards monthly.
  3. FedEx’s Small Business Grant: FedEx strives to give back by awarding grants to small businesses that are doing something special for their communities. Apply with an elevator pitch, telling them what you’re undertaking to improve your community through mental health services.
  4. Idea Cafe’s Small Business Grants: You can qualify for Idea Cafe’s $1,000 grant even when your business isn’t yet fully registered. Winners are decided by votes.

Business grants specifically for women

  1. Cartier Women’s Initiative Award: This is one of the best grants for women-owned mental health practices, with the top 7 applicants winning up to a $100,000 grant each. The other 14, making a total of 21 winners, will each get a $30,000 grant. A hefty sum capable of catapulting your mental health service to whole new heights.
  2. The InnovateHer Challenge: The SBA provides this grant yearly for women-owned businesses. If you can prove that your mental health practice serves women and the social/mental issues they face, you’re more likely to win. There are three winners, with $40,000 awarded to first place, $20,000 for second place, and $10,000 for third.
  3. The Amber Grants: Every month, one small woman-owned business wins the $10,000 Amber Grant. It’s won by votes, so your chances are higher if you’ve got a large social network.

How to apply for grants

  • To apply for grants for your mental health service, first research and identify potential grant opportunities that align with your business type. Check the online databases and government agencies I listed above to find opportunities.
  • Review the grant guidelines and eligibility criteria to ensure your project or organization meets all the requirements.
  • Then prepare a compelling grant proposal (or elevator pitch) that clearly outlines your project’s objectives, budget, expected outcomes, and why your venture deserves the grant. Here, you want to tailor your proposal to address the requirements and priorities outlined by the funding source. For example, if they prioritize businesses focusing on women’s social challenges, make this service shine through in your proposal.
  • Depending on the grant, you may have to provide supporting documents such as financial statements, project budgets, resumes of key personnel, letters of support, or other relevant information.
  • Consider getting help. Some organizations provide assistance to small business owners. A professional grant writer can also help make your proposal more compelling. But this is only worth it for big grants or if the grant requires a well-written cover letter.
  • Submit the application according to the guidelines.
  • Then wait for review and decision. If your application is successful, you will be notified of the grant award and how to receive it. 

When applying for a grant, do not:

  • Wait until the last minute
  • Use a template for all grant applications, as every organization has different priorities
  • Apply for every grant, as many might not cover mental health services.

Wrapping up

Grant opportunities for mental health services are available, although you might not find them explicitly written as such. Most come under small business grants, so you have to look at the kind of small business and project types the funding source prioritizes. If any of those priorities align with your mental health service needs, you just might emerge a winner!