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SUNY announces $24 million to be used for mental health services

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The SUNY Board of Trustees is moving ahead with plans to use $24 million in Federal American Rescue Plan funds to expand mental health and wellness services.

Funds will assist in hiring new staff, after-hours care, broader training for counseling staff and an anti-suicide prevention program. SUNY staffer Cheryl Hamilton is the student advocate for the state university system and said that there is an emphasis across the various campuses to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

“They are implementing things like telecounseling, they are doing work around DEI, in particular meeting the needs of our BIPOC communities, and also providing training for their staff so that we can increase the capacity for our counseling staff members,” Hamilton said.

The funding will also fund scholarships for students from underrepresented groups who are interested in pursuing careers in mental health. Hamilton said that these scholarships will help add a more diverse group of mental health workers to the workforce.

“This is really to build the mental health diversity workforce,” Hamilton said. “This is incredibly important. Over five years our goal is to provide approximately 45 scholarships.”

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's Director of News and Public Affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.