West Virginia’s High Education Policy Commission has awarded nearly $60,000 in grants to bolster mental health services at the state’s colleges and universities, according to a local news source.
Twelve institutions will receive between $4,000 and $5,000 each for projects ranging from a virtual peer support app to crisis intervention training for students and staff. Sarah Armstrong Tucker, chancellor of the state system, said the grants will help address two of the system’s biggest mental health challenges: rising suicide rates and severe understaffing at campus clinics.
“They have waiting lines that are three months long and that’s just not going to be conducive to students’ success,” Tucker told MetroNews.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated feelings of anxiety, depression and hopelessness among students. “They’ve been isolated,” Tucker said. “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.”