In response to the ongoing pandemic, Niagara University has started offering mental health first aid training to members of the community. In a statement, the university’s president acknowledged that this time is “stressful,” reassuring the community of the school’s commitment to its “physical, spiritual, and mental health.”

With mental health first aid training, Niagara hopes to improve students’ ability to access support and help erode the stigma of mental illness.

Taking the Initiative

Fifteen people have so far been certified to provide mental health first aid services. 

This is only part of the initial plans of the university to improve mental health services for its constituents. The institution’s mental health first aid initiative also involves telehealth counseling and online conferences for psychological well being.

It has also created an online service called Therapy Assistance Online Connect, a self-help tool that members of the Niagara University community can access through a phone or computer.

Mental Health in the Country

The mental health of students in the country is widely considered to be worsening. Over half of the student population is worried about their mental state, and a quarter of students report that they know someone who has suicidal thoughts

Other universities have implemented mental health first aid training and services as well. Students at the College of the Albemarle will be able to obtain certification in mental health first aid while Dartmouth College administration has recently been working to increase the amount of mental health support available in its community as well.