CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) and Community and Technical College System have awarded $45,000 in grants to support student mental health at colleges and universities across the state.
According to a press release, through these Campus Mental Health Grants, institutions will implement a variety of projects that include identifying existing mental health services for improvement, increasing accessibility of clinical services, integrating mental health promotion and prevention throughout the campus system and establishing a campus-wide culture that strives to identify, prevent and treat mental illness.
Carolyn Canini, the HEPC director of Behavioral Health Programs, said the grants are part of an effort to ramp up mental health services for students.
“We felt this would be a good way especially this fall with the additional challenges that new students are facing coming on to campus or starting their classes for the first time,” Canini said. “These grants are a good way to support the schools, to fund what they already are working towards doing for students, It feels really good for us to be a part of that.”
Canini said the pandemic has made receiving an education much harder than normal and that it takes a mental toll on students, which needs to be addressed. She said the institutions they chose to fund address mental health in a number of ways.
She said they all presented creative applications demonstrating work they have already started, or planned but could not start without funding.
“Something else that made these applications stand out was the importance of them partnering with multiple departments on their campus or within their community,” Canini said. “We know that students’ mental health can’t be the work of one person or one department on the campus, it really has to be a partnership that is agreed upon from administration down to academics, down to student support and student affairs, housing, all of the departments working together, so that really set aside some of these applications.”
The following institutions will receive $5,000 each for their projects.
- BridgeValley Community and Technical College: Training and Development of a Behavioral Intervention Team
- Concord University, Research and Development Corporation: CU Campus Mental Health Committee, CU Healthy Minds Project
- Marshall University Research Corporation, Counseling Center: We Are… Here for You Projects and Services
- Marshall University Research Corporation, Psychology Clinic: An Examination of Campus Racial and Ethnic Mental Health Treatment Disparity
- New River Community and Technical College: Free Mental Health Counseling for Students
- Pierpont Community & Technical College: Campus-Wide Mental Health Initiative
- West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine: Art as Mental Health Self-Care
- West Virginia State University, Office of Counseling and Accessibility Services: Mental Health Grant
- West Virginia University, Office of Student Wellness: Integrating Mental Health Promotion and Prevention at WVU