Achieving Equity for Latino Students
This book provides a critical discussion of the role that select K–12 educational policies have and continue to play in failing Latino students.
The Center / May 02, 2023
May is nationally recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month and offers a variety of options to #AdvocateFirstgen for increased mental health services and funding for first-generation and other college students. Results from a 2022 Student Voice Survey on first-generation college students revealed many of these students “may not think counseling is an option when they find themselves dealing with extreme stress or other mental health struggles.”
Supporting college students’ mental health remains an important consideration when thinking about strategies for increasing college completion rates. Stressed Out and Stopping Out: The Mental Health Crisis in Higher Education, a recent study by Gallup and the Lumina Foundation, reports that college students’ mental and emotional health continues to affect their academic careers.
Supporting college students’ mental health remains an important consideration when thinking about strategies for increasing college completion rates.
H.R.822 - Student Mental Health Helpline Act was introduced earlier this year to authorize additional funds to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to make grants to agencies and other organizations to support student mental health and safety helplines. The bill remains in committee; contacting your representative and asking for support of this bill is one way to #AdvocateFirstgen.
The Biden-Harris Administration’s President's Budget for Fiscal Year 2024 proposes a $150 million investment for colleges and universities to develop campus-wide strategies to address student mental health needs including hiring additional providers on their campuses. As budget negotiations continue, outreach by first-generation students and campus allies sharing existing challenges of providing current mental health services could be an especially effective way to #AdvocateFirstgen. Members of the House of Representatives and Senate are interested in learning about issues that are important to their constituents, and your outreach can signal the importance of this issue to a segment of those they represent.
In addition, legislative activity for postsecondary funding related to mental health is occurring in a number of states. Bills introduced address a variety of interventions including specifying an appropriate ratio of mental health counselors to college students on campuses, training for coaches on student-athletes’ mental health, approving mental health as an extenuating circumstance for withdrawal, and offering suicide prevention services. There are also a variety of bills related to student loan repayment for mental health providers. Constituent outreach to representatives at the state level offers another outlet for advocacy.
Researching other institutions’ strategies for supporting first-generation students’ mental health and advocating for increasing campus-based support is another avenue to pursue. Approaches such as peer counseling or training to recognize and address mental health symptoms are just two examples that institutions offer. Advocating for additional student programming, training for campus personnel, and other types of mental health support are crucial elements of a sound retention and completion strategy.
Focusing on mental health awareness this month presents first-generation advocates and students with a variety of engagement opportunities. As noted in the previously referenced Stressed Out and Stopping Out: The Mental Health Crisis in Higher Education report, college students’ mental health plays a key role in their persistence and completion. From federal- and state-level legislation to campus-based tactics, those concerned about greater support for college students’ mental health have a variety of options to #AdvocateFirstgen.