Advancing Whole Student Support Through Improved Mental Health and Wellness

Inadequate campus support for student mental health, such as student isolation and difficulty accessing care, extreme wait times, understaffing, and underfunding, predates 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, exacerbated preexisting conditions that failed to adequately support students. The impacts have been particularly pronounced for students of color and students from low-income circumstances. Systemic inequities, mental health disparities (related to both additive stressors and lower access to care), and higher levels of harassment and violence, combined with (and exacerbated by) pandemic trauma and the aftermath have rendered these populations more vulnerable to mental health challenges and suicide risk than peers from less marginalized groups.

 

Background

Over the next year, the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) will partner with The Jed Foundation (JED), a leading national nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for teens and young adults, to launch a new learning community among state higher education leaders committed to implementing whole student support. Five states (Arizona, Louisiana, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas) have been selected for a planning grant of $25,000 to facilitate their participation in the inaugural Student Mental Health and Wellness Learning Community from 2023-2024. The learning community will focus on the development and implementation of state- and system-wide policy recommendations. These recommendations will focus on collaborative strategies and innovative solutions aimed at bolstering institutions’ ability to effectively promote and support student mental health, thereby fostering educational success and overall life fulfillment.

A primary goal will be to mitigate mental health inequities and promote a just design that recognizes historic minoritization and alleviates systemic bias. Specifically, the communities will identify strategies that effectively support students of color and students from low-income circumstances who face systemic inequities and experience pronounced disparities in mental health care access. Lack of access to good quality mental health care is a significant barrier to educational achievement as it adversely impacts enrollment, re-enrollment, progress, and completion.

Chosen states will participate in learning community events, including intensive technical assistance from SHEEO and The Jed Foundation that will take place between October 2023-December 2024.

 

Events

June 26, 2 p.m. Eastern – Learning Community webinar, Policy in Practice: Moving from Discussion to Action in State Mental Health Initiative – Register here.

April 29-May 1 – In-person convening, The Wellness Blueprint: Cultivating Foundations for Statewide Student Mental Health Policy

Nov. 29 – Webinar on how institutions, systems, and states can collaborate to create a higher education community that nurtures and supports students.

 

In the News

 

Request for Proposals

SHEEO members are encouraged to apply using the RFP linked below. To promote the development of recommendations that support improving service to students, the application will invite a description of plans for SHEEOs to develop state coalitions of representative institutions and organizations to collaborate on important strategies. The Request for Proposals (RFP) has closed

 

Contact Us

For inquiries about the Student Mental Health and Wellness project, contact Sakshee Chawla at schawla@sheeo.org or John Lane jlane@sheeo.org.