BROCKPORT, N.Y. (WROC) — SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras was joined by local, federal and state officials at SUNY Brockport to announce a $24 million investment for new mental-health services to be offered across every SUNY campus.
“A CDC survey recently showed that 41% of all college-aged students reported at least one mental health condition,” Malatras said. “So there’s a desperate need to provide more services and our students have bene demanding this. This has been student driven from the beginning.”
With the additional $24 million, Malatras says SUNY will be spending a total of $59 million to address mental health resources.
“Through the American Rescue Plan, SUNY got an additional $481 million for spending needs and because of that investment we can expand health and wellness services,” Malatras said. “So today we’re announcing that SUNY will invest $24 million in additional funding for mental health and wellness. This is the single largest investment in the system’s history in mental health and wellness services.”
Malatras says some of the funding will go towards expanding counseling, increasing peer-to-peer networking capacity, training, and building safe spaces for students.
“That is a big deal for us that will make sure when we’re reopening all of our campuses, our students can focus on the important thing: Learning to succeed in life, and the way we do that is to eliminate barriers,” Malatras said.
“It’s no secret that America has been struggling with a growing mental health crisis and since the pandemic, those concerns have grown,” said Rep. Joe Morelle (D-25). “All those things, all the anxiety, of the pressure to succeed, the pressure in a new living environment with ne people and new friends — it can be intense. We know now that the anxiety and the isolation caused by the pandemic has increased. So we’re able to provide resources to SUNY, but the transformative work being done here is being done because SUNY is making this a priority. So the $24 million is not only a historic investment, but it’s the one SUNY leadership has made a priority as well.”
“We know that students with mental health needs require additional support to be successful,” said SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson. “When I was a student, such support was not as easily available, which meant that many students couldn’t start their college careers or had barriers to finishing them. Over the past four years our counseling center averaged more than 3,660 visits per year, visits to our health center for mental health jumped 10% last year.
Earlier this month, Malatras announced that all 64 SUNY campuses across New York State plan to fully reopen with in-person classes this Fall. The only restrictions will be for those who remain unvaccinated. They will be required to continue masking and social distancing as well as be subject to weekly COVID testing.
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This is a developing story. News 8 WROC will provide updates as they become available.