HEPC awards college grants to student programs aimed at addressing mental health

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Colleges and universities in West Virginia are receiving nearly $60,000 in grants from the state High Education Policy Commission to help support student mental health mostly brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker

“They’ve been isolated. Their classes last year were almost entirely online and they didn’t feel like they were connecting with their peers or anyone else in any material way so they were getting lonely,” said Chancellor Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker.

The funding will go toward projects including a virtual peer support app, suicide prevention and crisis intervention training for faculty and students, increased availability of mental health and wellness presentations for students and the creation of wellness and meditation spaces on campuses.

The grants range from $4,000 to $5,000 depending on the project.

Tucker said the mental health problem is two-fold. Suicide rates are up and there’s a staffing shortages at campus clinics.

“They have waiting lines that are three months long and that’s just not going to be conducive to students’ success. When hear that from both sides, you know what there’s a problem and it needs to be taken care of,” Tucker said.

A Mental Health Summit is planned on Nov. 2 for students pursuing degrees in healthcare and behavioral health. Registration is now open HERE.

Below is a list of schools set to receive funding for the following projects:

  • Concord University – CU Go On
  • Eastern Community and Technical College – Human Wellbeing
  • Fairmont State University – The Falcon Mental Health Awareness Program
  • Glenville State College – Glenville State College Counseling Center 2021-2022 Initiative
  • New River Community and Technical College – Motivational Interviewing Training and QPR Gatekeeper Trainer Certification
  • West Virginia Northern Community College – Stress & Mental Health Awareness via WellConnect
  • Pierpont Community & Technical College – Campus-Wide Mental Health Initiative
  • Shepherd University – Material Support for Campus Mental Health
  • West Virginia State University Research and Development Corp. – Behavior Intervention Team Development and Training
  • West Virginia University School of Social Work – Mental Health First Aid Training Project
  • West Virginia University/Potomac State College – Catamount Creative Expressions Initiative
  • West Virginia University – Institute of Technology – WVU Tech University Hall Affinity Space

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