This week, the University of Texas (UT) System Board of Regents approved the allocation of $16.5 million over the next five years to enhance student mental health and safety services at all 13 of its institutions.
During a Tuesday board meeting, UT Chancellor James Milliken said system leaders made the recommendation to the board based on national studies and the system’s internal data that show mental health issues have increased among college students in the last decade, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. At UT, the percentage of students who sought professional mental health services rose from 20 to 30 percent between 2011 to 2021, according to a press release.
“Student safety is always top of mind for the UT System Board of Regents,” Kevin P. Eltife, the board’s chair, said in the release. “Our unanimous support of new funding speaks to the Board’s commitment to ensure the very best learning environments for all students across all UT institutions.”
The funds will be distributed across five initiatives to develop and expand the system’s mental health resources, which include:
- A mental health crisis line
- Telehealth mental health services
- Online education on alcohol and sexual assault and harassment prevention
- Faculty and staff training
- Thrive at UT, a mobile app that offers well-being and resiliency skills
“Student safety and wellness remain a most critical priority for UT institutions, and the Board of Regents’ newest investment will support, educate and treat students at all UT academic and health institutions throughout their journey toward a degree,” Milliken said. “Our campuses are grateful for the timing of these new resources that will allow them to expand and enhance the student services determined to be most effective over the past 11 years and during the pandemic.”