BEMIDJI -- Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College are partnering to expand mental health services available to students with $120,000 in funding from the Minnesota State Multi-campus Collaboration Grant program.

A 2018 health survey of Minnesota college students found that more than 40% of those surveyed reported mental health issues, and 55% indicated that mental health issues impacted their academic performance, according to a recent release from BSU.

Travis Greene, associate vice president of student life and success for both BSU and NTC, said the grant will help both institutions provide additional resources to help students overcome mental health related issues that might otherwise hinder their academic success.

The program, “Expanding Reach: Mental Health for All,” will support initiatives that strengthen BSU and NTC’s ability to accommodate for student needs amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Yvette Anderson, director of BSU’s Student Center for Health and Counseling, said the funding will support the hiring of a new case manager, and provide increased support for student psychiatric care and equipment needed for secure Telehealth services.

Bemidji State and NTC serve diverse student populations, and according to a 2000 study those who seek counseling are more likely to persist in their academics than students who do not pursue such services.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Though the institutions have a well-established health and counseling center, psychiatric services became available for students just this year. Additionally, the introduction of telehealth came with the need for alternative counseling options with the onset of COVID-19. The Expanding Reach program will provide the additional resources and tools needed to reach a wider demographic of students ensuring comprehensive mental health services, the release said.