The University System of Georgia has launched a comprehensive Mental Health Initiative to significantly expand student mental health services during the COVID-19 pandemic. In August, Governor Kemp allocated funds from the Governors Emergency Education Relief (GEER) of the federal CARES Act specifically to support mental health and student support services within USG.
While USG students have proven to be remarkably resilient during the pandemic, with higher academic achievement and a record number of degrees awarded, the need for additional on-campus mental health resources has been heightened by the unique challenges students face right now. The USG Mental Health Task Force, appointed in 2019, has worked to identify areas of need across USG and recommend how to immediately expand mental health support services for students with the GEER funding allocation.
The Mental Health Initiative will expand USG clinical resources to ensure every student has access to telephonic psychiatric care and clinical counseling services. Expanded services will also offer in-person counseling options through a partnership with Christie Campus Health, a 24/7 hotline and well-being support programs. Additional funds will be set aside to create a USG Mental Health Consortium, which will develop a long-term service model for USG’s 26 institutions.
In recognition of the unique needs of each USG campus, mini-grants will be made available to campuses to support mental health and wellness. These funds can be used to establish new technology resources, increase campus programming or enhance communications.