Lamont announces launch of new program to provide mental health services at colleges and universities


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced the launch of a new program supporting mental health services at colleges and universities to help students having difficulty navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.

The changes from the pandemic have been particularly hard on college students. You have to wear a mask all the time. There are no parties, sometimes no in-person classes. Now, some state grant money is coming to make sure those students get some mental health help.

It is a burden that recent generations of students have not had to deal with: The psychological weight of entering adulthood in the middle of a global pandemic.

“In my experience, there is not enough staff who are educated and trained to help students,” University of New Haven senior Elizabeth Sirett said at Wednesday’s announcement at UNH. “Given that college is a time of identity discovery, self-questioning, and growth, there is a far greater need for mental health resources than some may realize from the outside looking in.”

The hope is a new, $2.7 million program will change that. The money comes from the governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund. The goal is to not only boost the level and amount of mental health care but also make more people aware of it. The people who often need help the most are the least likely to seek it out. Although, if the number of calls to the state hotline is any indication, people are reaching out.

“Throughout and accelerating were the calls we got from young people,” Lamont said. “We called it quarantine, but they called it isolation and loneliness. they were calling up the 211 hotline just looking for someone to talk to.”

The governor says the next step is to make those kinds of mental health resources available to high school students.

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