$460K N.J. Grant to Expand Student Mental Health Resources
Galloway, N.J. — A new state grant of more than $460,000 will allow Stockton University to expand its mental health resources.
A new Student Wellness Room, a new Community Outreach Coordinator and additional funds to provide mental health first-aid training are some of the uses of the $461,682 coming from the Mental Health in Higher Education: Community Provider Partnership and Professional Development Grant from the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education.
“Receiving this grant enhances our mental health services and provides additional support for our students’ health, well-being and sense of belonging, which are important indicators in student success,” said Dr. Zupenda Davis, Stockton’s assistant vice president for Student Health and Wellness.
Nearly $220,000 will go toward the costs for design and construction of a new Student Wellness Room. Davis said the room — the location of which is still to be determined — will serve many functions, including giving students a more private place for virtual clinical sessions and to “be in their own bubble.”
Receiving this grant enhances our mental health services and provides additional support for our students’ health, well-being and sense of belonging, which are important indicators in student success."
More than $100,000 is earmarked for consultant and training services, including a partnership with the Mental Health Association of Atlantic County to provide mental health first-aid training and QPR (Question, Persuade and Refer) training for suicide prevention.
The grant will also allow Stockton to become a member of the JED Campus Program, which is a nationwide initiative of The Jed Foundation, a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for teenagers and young adults. Davis said the four-year partnership is geared toward underrepresented or underserved students.
“When you have regular life stress on top of stressors due to bias, racism, microaggressions and biases from being LGBTQ+, for example, it helps to assess if our students are experiencing those things and what are the strategies to help with those unique risks,” she said, adding that rates of suicide are higher among people of color and LGBTQ+ youth.
The new Community Outreach Coordinator will be a full-time position that will facilitate students’ connections to off-campus clinical and nonclinical mental health resources, especially ones that may not be available at Stockton.
The grant will not only benefit students, but faculty and staff as well, Davis said. It’s providing money for Stockton to host nine professional development workshops on topics such as mental health in a multicultural context and supporting faculty and staff mental health while supporting others.
- Story by Mark Melhorn