Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont launched a $2.7 million mental health program this week to provide college students in the state with sorely-needed services.
The Connecticut Campus Mental Health program will be funded by the federal coronavirus relief aid the state has received and will assist students in overcoming mental health challenges exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic.
Governor Lamont signed legislation establishing the program earlier this year to ensure that colleges and universities have the resources to help students facing mental health challenges. The new program will assist an estimated 130,000 students at 28 higher education institutions.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating toll on the mental health of college and university students,” Lamont said. “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.”
The Connecticut Mental Health Program will fund schools employing evidence-based strategies to support education and mental health awareness. Lamont said the state would also provide resources to educate faculty and staff on mental illness.
According to the release, nearly 40 percent of college students in Connecticut reported symptoms of depression and anxiety in 2020. A staggering 83 percent said their mental health was standing in the way of their academic performance.
“Without proper mental health support and resources for students in need, there are a range of potentially serious and lasting consequences, including more students dropping out of school and higher rates of depression and anxiety. There’s no more important investment of state funds and resources than the investment in young people’s mental health,” Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner Nancy Navarretta said.
Institutional grant allocations will be based on undergraduate student population and the number of students receiving Pell Grants. Institutions applying for funding will also need to detail how the money will be used, including its distribution among minority and disadvantaged students.