SAMHSA grant supports student wellbeing and mental health
A new grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will help fund student wellbeing and mental health efforts at Connecticut College over the course of the next three years.
The Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grant, which provides $306,000 in total funding, will support Camel Wellbeing, a new Student Counseling Services program that aims to tie together several important goals: providing sustainable mental health and substance use disorder services; identifying and supporting at-risk students; and creating an inclusive approach to wellness on campus.
“Camel Wellbeing will support the efforts to educate the whole campus on the importance of mental health and wellbeing. It will also add an additional layer of support for students,” said Director of Student Counseling Services Janet Dee Spoltore.
“The grant also dovetails with one of the College’s strategic priorities—'to educate students about the relationships between health, wellbeing and success,'” Spoltore added.
The program will pay particular attention to students from underrepresented groups, including domestic students of color and international students, those who identify as LGBTQIA and first-generation or economically disadvantaged students.
As well as providing support for those with mental health needs, the new programming—which will be administered by Student Counseling Services—is designed to educate the campus community about mental health issues and the impact these issues can have on overall wellbeing.
Spoltore hopes that the program will “teach all to recognize students of concern while also learning how to refer them to appropriate support. The ultimate goal of the project is to improve student mental health and prevent suicide.”
Now in their 12th year, Garrett Lee Smith Grants are awarded to institutes of higher education across the United States. Connecticut College is one of 20 recipients this year; this is the second time the College’s work has been recognized by SAMHSA.
In 2006, the organization—part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—provided Conn with $225,000 to support the creation of a suicide prevention program. In 2016, the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services also awarded the college $75,000 in funding for the creation of comprehensive suicide prevention and awareness programming, including training for staff, faculty and students and building connections to local health care providers.