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Murphy announces $16 million to implement mental health initiatives for higher education students

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) announced that the state will distribute $16 million in grant funding to eligible institutions to address the mental health needs of students seeking higher education, according to a press release. – Photo by Governor Phil Murphy / Twitter

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) announced yesterday that $16 million in grant funding would be made available for higher education students in New Jersey to address their mental health needs, according to a press release.

In a survey conducted last fall by the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE) that assessed the impacts of the pandemic on New Jersey students’ mental and physical health, investigators found that approximately 70 percent of participating students said that their levels of anxiety and stress were higher than when the pandemic started.

As such, these grants will use American Rescue Plan funds to enact mental health policies across higher education institutions to help students whose mental health has been affected by the pandemic, according to the release.

Of the allocated funding, $15 million will be given to higher education institutions to create partnerships with community organizations that will enable these institutions to meet students’ mental health needs.

The amount of funding that each eligible institution will receive is dependent on the school’s student enrollment. The remaining funds will contribute to professional development for staff and faculty, with which they can increase engagement with students, according to the release.

Next year, OSHE will use $10 million to create a statewide telehealth program for all higher education students in New Jersey. The program will increase the accessibility of mental health services through virtual services available on and off campus.

"With sharp increases in the rates of depression, anxiety and stress among youth in New Jersey and around the nation, it is clear many young people are struggling right now," Murphy said. "These grants will fund critical initiatives at our institutions of higher education to help address the mental health needs of New Jersey students — which is essential to both their success and the success of our state as a whole."

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