Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education unveils $1.5 million plan to boost mental health on campuses

March 03, 2021

Student waving at online teacher
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The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) is tapping $1.5 million in federal relief funds to improve mental health services for students across the state as COVID-19 continues to drive stress and uncertainty on college campuses.

CPE unveiled the new, multi-tiered initiative this week. It includes more than $900,000 in grants to help campuses expand mental health programs, along with two state contracts to help train campus personnel and provide web-based interventions for students. The Council is also launching a virtual support network for high school seniors in the GEAR UP Kentucky program.

Kentucky colleges and universities have experienced growing demand for health and counseling resources over the past year. Institutions report high rates of anxiety and depression among students due to the pandemic, and CPE has consulted with campus leaders on ways to shore up funds and staffing to meet the need.

Gov. Andy Beshear
Gov. Andy Beshear

"We are going to beat COVID-19 this year, but the emotional scars from this pandemic will take longer to heal," said Gov. Andy Beshear. "Our students have sacrificed so much to ensure their safety and protect others in their communities. We need to show up for them now to make sure they have the support they need to come out of this crisis safely – physically and mentally. Campus resources are central to that goal. I want to thank CPE and all of our campuses for their leadership in this area, and for their commitment to safeguarding our students' health."

The funding is part of the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund, known as GEER. Last year, Gov. Beshear channeled $13.8 million of Kentucky's GEER fund, a component of the federal CARES ACT, into helping postsecondary institutions respond to the pandemic.

Since May, CPE has allocated $12.3 million directly to campuses for COVID-related expenses like remote learning, support services and operational recovery. The remaining $1.5 million has remained in reserve until now.

CPE President Aaron Thompson said many students have faced tremendous challenges with stress, isolation, housing and finances over the past year, and the toll on mental health has reached dire levels.

"For many college students, the pandemic has interrupted a critical time for social and emotional development, and we have an inherent responsibility to protect their well-being," Thompson said. "CPE's plan will provide urgent interventions that are essential to keep our students healthy and on track to graduate."

The plan includes:

Last Updated: 7/21/2021