A new $2.7 million state program has been created to help higher education institutions in Connecticut enhance their mental health services.
Announced on Wednesday, the Connecticut Campus Mental Health Program is aimed to combat mental health challenges exasperated due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating toll on the mental health of college and university students that, left unchecked, could have significant long-term ramifications on their overall wellbeing,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a news release Wednesday.
“This funding is an important step forward in ensuring our institutions of higher learning are equipped to provide every ounce of support possible to students in need after a stressful school year,” he went on to say.
According to officials, the program will provide “evidence-based” strategies to enhance student care, boost education and awareness of mental health services available and equip staff and students with education on how to support students with mental illnesses, as well as those from a minority or underserved background.
The program is predicted to benefit more than 130,000 undergrad students across 28 colleges and universities in the state.
“Due to the far-reaching impact of the pandemic on college students, we have seen a tremendous increase in the need for mental health resources on our campus,” University of New Haven President Steven Kaplan said in a statement.
“As we continue to respond to this urgent issue, it is critical that we provide all of our students – our state’s future leaders – the support and resources they need to thrive and excel,” he said.
Grants from the program will be administered by the Connecticut Office of Higher Education, the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Office of the Governor.
Applications will be open to all nonprofit undergraduate institutions with an endowment per student of less than $100,000, according to the governor's office. Institutions receiving grant funding will be required to describe their usage of the funds, including how grants are equitably distributed to benefit minority, underrepresented or disadvantaged student populations student populations.