Mental health scholarships have been a great way for people who struggle with any type of mental health disorder further their education and pay for tuition. They offer financial support, awareness, and recognition to students suffering from mental health conditions in high school, community college, undergraduate, and graduate programs. Scholarships can help students achieve their career aspirations by reducing the stress of paying for tuition.
According to the Mental Institute of Mental Health, millions of people in the United States are diagnosed with mental illnesses every year. Luckily, more and more individuals and mental health organizations are creating specific scholarship opportunities for people living with mental illnesses. In this article, you’ll find a list of some available mental health scholarships for high school students and university students as well as tips on how to get a mental health scholarship.
What Is a Mental Health Scholarship?
A mental health scholarship is a form of financial aid put in place for people living with any form of mental disability, including invisible disabilities, to be better able to afford university or college. Unlike most scholarships, these usually are with the aim of creating more awareness of mental health as well as innovative solutions to make life easier for people who struggle with mental wellness. Scholarships can be offered by a mental health organization, health care providers, government bodies, and schools.
There are several scholarships available for people living with mental illness including targeted ones like diagnosis-specific scholarships, GPA-specific scholarships, and generalized mental health scholarships. These scholarships are available to high school seniors applying for an undergraduate program, students in trade school or community college, and full-time college students.
Common Mental Health Scholarship Requirements
- Mental Illness Diagnosis. Mental health scholarships usually require applicants to submit a doctor’s diagnosis to prove that they suffer from a mental illness.
- Essay. Some scholarships require applying students to write an essay on their personal experience of living with a mental disease or some other scholarship-specific topic.
- GPA minimum. Many scholarships, including need-based scholarships, have a GPA minimum for applying. Although a GPA of 3.0 is the average minimum, some scholarships have an academic criterion as high as a 3.5 GPA. However, this might not always be common among mental health scholarships.
- Proof of Financial Need. Applicants are usually required to prove their need for financial assistance to ensure that the scholarships only go to those that actually need it. Most schools will require students to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form when applying.
- Age Minimum. Most mental health scholarships require candidates to be 18 years of age and above. Exceptions can be made in special cases, such as early placement in higher education, but this is rare.
How to Find Mental Health Scholarships
There is a wide range of scholarships available every year, but knowing where to look isn’t evident. Luckily, there are plenty of tools that can help you find the perfect scholarship for you. Scholarship websites like the US Department of Labor Scholarship Finder are easy to use. You can also talk to someone working at the financial aid department of the college or university you wish to attend. Here are a few tips on finding the best scholarship for you.
Apply to as Many as Possible
With so many scholarships available, it’s wise to apply to as many as you can, especially seeing as there are no limits as to how many you can apply to or receive. The more scholarships you apply for, the better your chances are of receiving at least one. Your high school or university’s financial aid advisor can help you find the ones you’re most eligible for and help you with the application process.
Know the Deadlines
Most scholarships have very strict deadlines and any late applications most likely won’t be considered. Start your scholarship search and application process early. This way, you’ll have ample time to prepare and polish your applications. If the deadline for a scholarship you want has expired, remember that there are certainly others still available. You can always apply for the same scholarship the following year.
Target a Specific Diagnosis Scholarship
Consider searching for scholarships that are tailored to your personal mental health issue. For example, if you suffer from a schizoaffective disorder, make a list of scholarships that are solely available to students struggling with schizoaffective disorder. The same goes for those suffering from a learning disability or post-traumatic stress disorder. It’ll be easier to write a convincing application and personal statement when the scholarship is personal to you.
Tips to Find Mental Health Scholarships for High School Students
Start Searching and Applying Early
Don’t wait until after your high school graduation to start searching for scholarships. You can often start sending applications as soon you’ve been accepted into a post-secondary program. Don’t be too worried about your GPA. Many mental health scholarships don’t require it. You can also begin an application process with the option to submit your GPA later if you think it will improve by the application deadline.
Prioritize Scholarship Applications by Deadline
Once you’ve compiled a list of mental health scholarships you’d like to apply for, sort them by upcoming deadlines and get started as soon as possible. We recommend setting reminders or alarms as an additional precaution. Additionally, you may need more time than you imagined to complete these applications, as some require essays and even video submissions.
Starting early gives you plenty of time to revise and polish applications before the scholarship deadlines. Consider creating a spreadsheet with the name and deadline for each scholarship you want to apply for and check each one off once they’re complete.
Practice Writing Personal Statements and Essays
Your teachers, counselors, parents, and classmates can help you write a compelling essay or personal statement. They can provide great feedback and let you know if it sounds authentic. Practicing by writing an essay or two during your spare time will not only help you write better essays, but it’ll also help you write them faster too.
10 Best Mental Health Scholarships in 2022: Overview
|Scholarship Name||Who Is Eligible||Amount Covered|
|Andrew Perez Mental Illness/Suicidal Awareness Education Scholarship||BIPOC high school or undergraduate student living with a mental health condition||$1,000|
|Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship||High school or undergraduate student living with mental health issues or directly related to a person living with mental health issues||$2,950|
|Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship||Students living with mental health issues and anyone directly related to someone living with mental health conditions||$500|
|NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship||High school grads or current undergraduates living with mental health disorders pursuing careers in media, communications, or entertainment industries||$5,625|
|Noah Wilson “Loaded Spinach” Arts & Mental Health Awareness Scholarship||High school graduate students who want to pursue degrees in art and raise awareness for mental health||$1,200|
|Prochnow Foundation annual scholarship||Outstanding high school student with a diagnosed mental illness||$1,000|
|Robert Wechman Mental Health Scholarship||High school or undergraduate students living with mental health issues||$1,640|
|Suzie’s Mental Health Awareness Scholarship||Students living with mental health issues or directly related to someone living with mental health issues||$500|
|The Jared Monroe Foundation Scholarship||High school grads or undergraduates diagnosed with bipolar disorder||$500 to $2,300 (multiple scholarships awarded)|
|The Jack Scurra Fund||High school graduate or undergraduate college student of a New Jersey academic institution living with a mental health issue or severe physical disability||$10,000|
Top 10 Mental Health Scholarships: In Detail
1. Andrew Perez Mental Illness/Suicidal Awareness Education Scholarship
- Awarded by: Jesus Perez
- Deadline: April 14, 2022
This scholarship was created by Jesus Perez to honor his late son Andrew Perez by helping students pursue their education regardless of their mental illnesses. It is open to any BIPOC high school or bachelor’s degree student diagnosed with a mental health condition. Interested applicants have to submit an essay about their interests, coping techniques, and long-term ambitions.
2. Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship
- Awarded by: Dr. Terrence O. Hayes Sr.
- Deadline: June 4, 2022
This scholarship program was established in honor of Ethel Hayes to stimulate more open and honest conversations about mental health issues and the people struggling with them. Students living with mental illness or who have had loved ones living with mental illness are eligible for the award. To apply, you must write a brief essay explaining how your experiences with mental health have influenced your ideas, relationships, and goals.
3. Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
- Awarded by: Calvin Rosser
- Deadline: May 31, 2022
This scholarship aims to boost mental health awareness and encourage innovative ways to help people living with mental health issues. Students of any educational level and area of study that have had firsthand experience with mental health issues or have had somebody close to them living with mental health challenges are eligible for the scholarship.
Eligible students have to write an essay explaining how their mental health experiences have shaped their values, relationships, and career goals. Working or volunteering with groups that raise awareness about, provide assistance to those suffering from, or conduct research on mental health is an advantage for student applications, but it is not compulsory.
4. NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship
- Awarded by: NBCUniversal through the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
- Deadline: May 20, 2022
This scholarship is funded by NBCUniversal in honor of Tony Coelho, a Californian United States Representative and author of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and provides $5,625 to eight students with any kind of disability looking to work in media, entertainment, or communications. To apply, you’ll need to submit your resume, your unofficial transcript from your current college or university, three 300-word essays, and a letter of recommendation.
5. Noah Wilson “Loaded Spinach” Arts and Health Awareness Scholarship
- Awarded by: Desirie Mckay
- Deadline: April 19, 2022
This scholarship award was created in memory of Noah A.H. Wilson, a Massey scholar at The School the Art Institute at Chicago who suffered from depression and provides $1,200 in scholarship money to a high school senior pursuing an arts degree passionate about improving young adults’ mental health and preventing suicide.
Interested students have to submit an essay about themselves and how they became interested in studying the arts, as well as how their experiences with the arts and mental health have shaped their beliefs, relationships, and goals.
6. Prochnow Foundation Annual Scholarship
- Awarded by: Prochnow Foundation
- Deadline: April 30, 2022
The Prochnow Foundation was founded to help brilliant people suffering from mental illnesses further their education and personal growth by reducing their financial burden. The foundation offers an annual scholarship fund, career-focused mentorship programs, and in-person speaking events. Eligible students must be enrolled in a four-year college or full-time vocational school. Winners get a $1,000 cash award.
7. Robert Wechman Mental Health Scholarship
- Awarded by: Evan Wechman
- Deadline: March 30, 2022
This scholarship is for a student who has had personal experience with mental illness and is committed to challenging the stigma surrounding mental health conversations. It is open to any high school student in need of financial assistance who plans to attend a four-year institution. Applicants are required to write an essay on how their mental health experiences have shaped their lives as well as how they have influenced their desire to de-stigmatize mental health.
8. Suzie’s Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
- Awarded by: Reyna Perry
- Deadline: March 25, 2022
Suzie’s Mental Health Awareness Scholarship awards a scholarship of $500 to a high school student living with mental health issues, who has a loved one diagnosed with mental health issues, or who plans to pursue a degree in a mental healthcare field such as psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience. Applicants need to write an essay about their experiences with mental health, its effect on their lives, and its importance to them.
9. The Jared Monroe Foundation Scholarship
- Awarded by: The Jared Munroe Foundation
- Deadline: May 1, 2022
The Jared Munroe Foundation gathers donations which are then awarded as scholarships to students who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and are undergoing treatment. The scholarships, which range from $500 to $2,300 depending on the amount of money donated each year, can be used to cover tuition, books, accommodation, and other fees.
Applicants must be officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder, provide a therapist letter, be a fresh high school graduate or a high school student in their last year, and submit an essay on the provided topic. You can check out past winners of the scholarship to see the kinds of applicants that are awarded.
10. The Jack Scurra Fund
- Awarded by: Scurra Law Firm
- Deadline: June 15, 2022
The Jack Scura Fund was established in memory of John “Jack” Joseph Scura II, Esq. to recognize students with disabilities excelling in school and in their communities. The scholarship is awarded partially in the fall semester and the rest in the spring semester. Eligible students must have at least a 3.2 GPA, be enrolled or applying to any university or college in New Jersey, and have an intellectual disability, severe physical disability, or psychiatric disability.
Should I Apply for a Mental Health Scholarship?
Yes, if you’re a student suffering from any mental health issues, you should definitely apply for a mental health scholarship. They often come with benefits other than financial awards such as mentorship programs, awareness programs, and community networking. There are lots of individuals and organizations making conscious efforts to support people suffering from mental health issues by awarding financial aid to help them get through school.
Mental Health Scholarships FAQ
You should apply for a mental health scholarship in the spring, as this is when most scholarship applications take place. However, the application deadline for mental health scholarships is different from scholarship to scholarship. We recommend you start looking for mental health scholarships a full academic year before you need one.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
Key factors to consider when applying for scholarships include the eligibility requirements, application deadlines, and the amount of money awarded. With so many mental health scholarships to choose from, you’ll be able to compile a list of those that fit your specific needs and that you have the best chance of winning.
Writing a compelling personal statement or essay is the best way to make your mental health scholarship application stand out. Put your heart and soul into explaining how mental health struggles have affected you, why the scholarship is important to you, and how it will affect your life. Being authentic will go a long way.
There are multiple scholarships available for people living with mental health issues. There are scholarships tailored to just about any special needs, whether you are a high school student or presently enrolled in college, or suffer from mild to severe mental disorders or impairments. For students with mental health issues, mental health scholarships can help alleviate the burden of tuition costs.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.