University System of Georgia Expands Student Mental Health Resources
The state allocated $11.5 million of the Governors Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funding to support mental health initiatives at USG.
ATLANTA — Last week, the University System of Georgia (USG) launched its plan to expand student mental health services amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Back in August, Governor Brian Kemp announced the state would allocate $11.5 million of the Governors Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funding to back mental health and student support services within USG, reports 11 Alive.
In 2019, USG launched the Mental Health Task Force, which has worked to identify areas of need across USG and recommend how to immediately expand mental health support services for students using the GEER funding.
“Our fight with COVID-19 has threatened lives and livelihoods, while taking a toll on the mental wellbeing of countless Georgians – young and old,” said Kemp. “In these challenging times, it is critical that we look out for each other and provide every resource possible to promote mental health across our state, and I’m proud to partner with USG to ensure on-campus support for Georgia’s students.”
USG announced it will use $8 million of the funding to develop USG clinical resources to ensure students have access to telephonic psychiatric care and clinical counseling services. In-person counseling options will also be made available in partnership with Christie Campus Health, a 24/7 hotline and well-being support program.
Additional funds will be used to establish a USG Mental Health Consortium, which will develop a long-term service model for all of USG’s 26 campuses. Each of USG’s campuses will also have access to $1.7 million in mini-grants and can be used to establish new technology resources, increase campus programming, or improve communications.
USG has also dedicated resources for a partnership with The Jed Foundation (JED) to help campuses create a long-term strategic plan while implementing immediate actions and programs, All on Georgia reports. JED provides a comprehensive public health approach to promoting emotional well-being and preventing suicide and substance abuse.
According to the College Student Fall 2020 Mental Health Survey, 93% of college students agree or strongly agree their mental health is an important component of their overall health and wellbeing, with 66% saying the COVID-19 pandemic has forced them to take a closer look at their own mental health. Compared to previous years, 85% of students reported feeling somewhat or considerably more stressed as a result of the pandemic.
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