Murphy Administration Announces $16 Million in Grants to Support College Students’ Mental Health Needs – InsiderNJ | Team Cansler

TRETON – The Murphy Administration today announced the availability of $16 million in grants to address the mental health needs of New Jersey students in higher education institutions, as many of the mental health issues faced by young people today have been exacerbated by the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE) will administer these grants, using American Rescue Plan (ARP) dollars allocated in the FY2023 budget, to support mental health initiatives at public and public independent colleges in New Jersey finance receive state operating aid.

Today’s announcement is part of Governor Phil Murphy’s $55 million interagency ARP investment in the FY23 budget, including additional programs from the Departments of Education, Children and Family and Human Services. The programs will be launched throughout the fiscal year. This investment complements Governor Murphy’s national commitment to strengthening youth mental health through his work as the 2022-2023 Chair of the National Governors Association.

Of the $16 million available for these grants, $15 million will be distributed to eligible higher education institutions for the creation of community partnerships that allow institutions to increase capacity to address student mental health needs to become. Institutions are encouraged to work with local, state, or national organizations to provide services tailored to the unique needs of their student population. To ensure fair and equitable distribution, this funding is allocated to eligible institutions based on a formula consisting of two parts: 1) a flat dollar amount distributed to all institutions in the sector based on the sector’s percentage of total student enrollment granted by the state; and 2) the total number of students at the institution.

The remaining $1 million will be used for professional development opportunities for faculty and staff to build multicultural competencies and increase engagement with their diverse student communities. Each eligible institution may request up to $21,739 for this purpose.

“With the sharp rise in rates of depression, anxiety and stress among youth in New Jersey and across the country, it is clear that many young people are struggling right now.” said Governor Murphy. “We must do everything in our power to support youth mental health as we emerge from the pandemic and look to the future. These grants will fund important initiatives at our colleges to address the mental health needs of New Jersey students — which is critical to both their success and the success of our state as a whole.”

“Managing mental health is critical to the overall health, well-being and success of our students,” said dr Brian K. Bridges, Secretary of Higher Education. “Student mental health can impact their academic progress, including staying on and graduating on time, particularly for those from historically underserved backgrounds. These grants will help our facilities provide quality mental health services to all students and ensure no student is turned away in times of need.”

In a fall 2021 OSHE questionnaire that focused on the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the mental and physical health of New Jersey students, over 70 percent of the students surveyed rated their stress and anxiety levels as higher than in 2020 when the pandemic first broke out.

“We made these funds available from the state budget because we recognize the importance of providing undergraduate mental health services on our college campuses.” said Senate President Nick Scutari. “This assistance is urgently needed to address a mental health crisis that is sweeping through our colleges and universities. Collaboration between mental health organizations that have expertise and our colleges will help provide valuable services to those in need so they can thrive in college and beyond.”

“Mental health is important. With leadership that understands this, our investment in mental health care and services this year has far exceeded any other year in our state’s recent history.” said congregation spokesman Craig J. Coughlin. “Prioritizing strategic community partnerships that improve student access to support and resources, these grants will not only address existing mental health needs on campus, but will also go to great lengths to foster a broader culture and environment that supports the support mental well-being. Young people deserve to have the tools they need to be successful and positive about their future. I am grateful for the joint commitment of the Governor, OSHE and legislative partners to ensure this is possible.”

OSHE will also use an additional $10 million in ARP funding to establish a nationwide telehealth program. This program, expected to launch early next year, will increase access to mental health services for all college students in New Jersey through virtual services available on and off campus.

Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on January 31, 2023, with an expected release of scholarship dollars early next year. Questions about mental health grants can be directed to OSHE@OSHE.nj.gov.

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