North Carolina is investing millions in mental health programs for students at state colleges and universities.
Governor Roy Cooper made the announcement Monday. The state is spending $7.7 million to support North Carolina's postsecondary institutions to provide additional mental health services to students and training to campus staff.
This investment in the University of North Carolina (UNC) System will support new mental health initiatives and provide funding to sustain initiatives created by Governor Cooper's previous $5 million grant to the UNC System in May 2021.
"Identifying their mental distress and getting them access to quality treatment is more critical for our students than ever," Governor Cooper said. "This investment will help our state's colleges and universities better support their students so they can thrive."
Additionally, the UNC System will use this funding to continue providing students access to an after-hours mental health hotline and develop a new resiliency training program for faculty, staff, and students at all 17 UNC institutions.
With the initial $5 million investment in 2021, the UNC System launched a Mental Health First Aid training initiative to help college and university faculty and staff identify, understand and respond to mental health and substance abuse disorders. As of November 2022, the UNC System had trained 274 Mental Health First Aid instructors across the UNC System, the NC Community College System, and the state's independent colleges and universities. Those trained instructors have, in turn, trained nearly 2,500 faculty and staff across their campuses.
The UNC System will collaborate with the North Carolina Community College System and the state's independent colleges and universities to offer suicide prevention training to faculty and staff across all three education systems. Cooper said that these trainings will provide faculty and staff with the tools they need to better identify and support students in crisis.