The University of Texas (UT) announced on Tuesday that it will invest $16.5 million over the next 5 years to expand and improve resources for student mental health, campus safety and education. to alcohol in the 13 academic and health establishments in its system.
The stipend was unanimously approved by the UT System Board of Trustees at a special meeting this week to fund resources aimed at improving student safety and well-being.
“Student safety and well-being remain a key priority for UT institutions, and the latest investment from the Board of Regents will support, educate and treat students at all UT academic and healthcare facilities while along their journey to a degree,” said Chancellor James Milliken.
“Our campuses are grateful for the timing of these new resources that will allow them to expand and improve student services deemed most effective over the past 11 years and during the pandemic.”
In 2011, UT became the first higher education system in the nation to invest in comprehensive alcohol prevention, education, and recovery programs across its campus network. The additional investment in resources came after national studies and internal data revealed a significant increase in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues affecting students, including stress, anxiety and depression, over the course of the year. of the last decade.
“There is a larger epidemic of childhood mental health affecting American children,” said Andy Keller, PhD, president and CEO of the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute.
“Before the pandemic, we had record rates of suicide deaths [among] teenagers and young adults. We have seen a continued increase in this population, including groups that were previously not as susceptible to it, especially black people [youth]. What you’re seeing is everyone getting worse and heading towards those bad levels. Then what happened with a pandemic was [that] it accelerated [rates] especially for adolescent girls and young women.
New initiatives include:
- Mental Health Crisis Line
- Extending clinical mental health services to students through telehealth
- Online alcohol education and prevention of sexual assault and harassment for students; harassment, safety and other training for faculty and staff
- Faculty and staff training
- Thrive at UT Mobile App
The UT system is already deeply committed to mental health care and child and adolescent care systems across the state through its Texas Children’s Mental Health Care Consortium.
Some consortium of faculties of medicine existing work to expand mental health care services for children and youth in Texas school systems aligns with and builds on new initiatives in the UT system. These initiatives include workforce expansion, telehealth services and training, and treatment for at-risk youth.
This commitment to student safety and well-being comes as the state continues to deal with the aftermath of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde in May.
Governor Greg Abbott approved $105.5 million in a statewide funding for school safety and mental health resources Tuesday in response to the shooting.
“The State of Texas is moving quickly to ensure our schools are safe and that Texas children, teachers and families have the support and resources they need to stay safe as we work to prevent future tragedies. as the heinous crime committed at Uvalde,” Abbott said in a press release. “Our communities – urban and rural – are stronger when Texans are safe and healthy, and I thank my partners in the legislature for quickly responding to the need to expand critical mental health and safety initiatives. school in the Lone Star State.”