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UT Regents approve funding to enhance, expand student mental health and safety resources
The University of Texas System Board of Regents reaffirmed its long-standing commitment to prioritize student mental health and safety today in a special called meeting, approving the allocation of $16.5 million over the next five years to expand and enhance student mental health, student safety and alcohol education resources at all 13 UT academic and health institutions. UT has been at the forefront of this important space dating back to 2011, when it became the first system of higher education in the nation to approve an investment toward comprehensive alcohol prevention, education and recovery programs at each of its academic campuses.
“Student safety is always top of mind for the UT System Board of Regents,” said Chair Kevin P. Eltife. “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.”
Chancellor James Milliken said UT System leadership recommended additional investment in student mental health resources to the Board based on national studies and internal data that has shown a significant rise in the diagnosis and treatment of student mental health issues – including stress, anxiety and depression – over the past 10-plus years. The coronavirus pandemic and its associated challenges accelerated this trend, as the percentage of students at UT institutions who were diagnosed by and/or received mental health services from a professional increased from 20% to 30% from 2011 to 2021. Student counseling centers reported a 38% increase in psychiatric hospitalizations during the same period.
“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.”
Milliken noted that the expanded student mental health initiative will continue to be overseen by UT Austin, which has led UT’s system-wide effort to nurture student wellness and safety across the System since 2011. The Chancellor emphasized UT Austin’s capacity and history of success as a leader in student mental health in his remarks to the Board.
The total allocation of $16,500,000 will fund five initiatives, as well as evaluation of their impact, for five years across the UT System:
- Mental Health Crisis Line
- Expanding Clinical Mental Health Services to Students Via Telehealth
- Web-based Alcohol Education and Sexual Assault & Harassment Prevention for Students; Harassment, Safety, and Other Training for Faculty/Staff
- Faculty and Staff Training
- Thrive at UT Mobile App
About The University of Texas System
For more than 130 years, The University of Texas System has been committed to improving the lives of Texans and people all over the world through education, research and health care. With 13 institutions, an enrollment of more than 243,000 students and an operating budget of $23.4 billion (FY 2022), the UT System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. UT institutions produce more than 67,000 graduates annually and award more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and more than half of its medical degrees. Collectively, UT-owned and affiliated hospitals and clinics accounted for more than 8.6 million outpatient visits and almost 1.8 million hospital days in 2020. UT institutions also are among the most innovative in the world, collectively ranking No. 4 for most U.S. patents granted in 2020, and the UT System is No. 1 in Texas and No. 2 in the nation in federal research expenditures. The UT System also is one of the largest employers in Texas, with more than 21,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies – and more than 85,000 health care professionals, researchers and support staff.