News from Ohio State University

Ohio State leveraging $2.5 million in new mental health and well-being resources

The Ohio State University is bringing specialized teletherapy, academic accommodation support and more mental health and well-being resources and programs to students as part of a nearly $2.5 million award from the state of Ohio.

The university is creating or enhancing nine initiatives that are being funded for two years as part of $20 million Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio’s General Assembly have dedicated for college and university mental health support for students.

The initiatives and their funding are part of Ohio State’s commitment to providing a suite of mental health and well-being resources to students, faculty and staff. Just last month, the university and the Wexner Medical Center announced a $20 million “SOAR” study with the state that will identify risk and resiliency factors to improve mental health outcomes.

“Ohio State will always strive to meet the mental health needs of our students, as well as faculty and staff,” said Ohio State President Walter “Ted” Carter Jr. “During my service to our nation, I pushed to change the Navy’s approach to suicide and destigmatize mental health issues. The university is facing these challenges with the same urgency. I am grateful to the state of Ohio for innovative collaborations like the SOAR study and for this new grant that will enable us to do even more of this important work.”

The resources to come from the new funding include:

  • Teletherapy that provides specialized service for after-hours and wellness programming and complements the multi-modal approach utilized throughout the university. Undergraduate Student Government (USG) President Bobbly McAlpine and Vice President Madison Mason were strong advocates for the program, citing the ability for students to have increased accessibility to 24/7 therapy appointments. 
  • Mental health grants that provide funding to students for off-campus mental health resources. These funds would provide associated graduate student positions to work with the students receiving the grants. 
  • Buckeye Resource Center student support, creating a one-stop shop to help students experiencing stress related to financial needs. Opening this fall, the Buckeye Resource Center will help students with issues including food and clothing insecurity, housing concerns, emergency funding and other essential needs.
  • Student organization wellness ambassador program, which will incentivize and train student organizations to identify a formal mental health ambassador position. 
  • Graduate student administrative assistants who focus on promoting health and well-being resources. One will assist the Student Wellness Center with programming, outreach and assessment of initiatives, one will assist Counseling and Consultation Service (CCS) with outreach, including expanding the Let's Talk program, and another will assist the university’s Suicide Prevention Program with REACH training and other outreach.
  • Academic accommodation support for mental health, which helps students experiencing mental health concerns utilize a wide range of accommodations to support their success at Ohio State. More staff support includes exam accommodations, attendance and deadline modifications and adaptive technology. 
  • Biofeedback equipment at CCS that enable users to learn how to change physiological activity to improve health and performance.
  • Student Employee Experience (SEE) wellness program, which will focus programming and resources into health and well-being for the student employees who participate in SEE. The program sets and communicates expectations for student employee growth and development and prepares managers of students to be active participants in this process.
  • Digital mental health modules and self-help tools available on demand.

A diverse group of Ohio State students, faculty and staff worked together to find ways to fill in the gaps on the mental health offerings already available to students. USG’s McAlpine and Mason were especially active in securing teletherapy for student use because of its flexibility.

“It was important for us, representing USG, to advocate for support that meets our fellow students exactly where they are,” McAlpine said. “I’m grateful for these extra resources and we cannot wait to see how it will have a positive impact on the mental health of our constituents.”  

Ohio State is committed to supporting the mental health and well-being of students, led by a number of departments in the Office of Student Life, including CCS. The university offers ongoing, regular care and emergency support, and operates the well-regarded Suicide Prevention Program. America’s suicide rate in 2022, the most recent year for which data is available, reached its highest level in over 80 years.

The new resources are funded from the Ohio Department of Higher Education through June 30, 2025, when the next state budget cycle begins. The Office of Student Life will communicate directly with students about how to utilize the new resources in the coming weeks and months.

“We are grateful to the Ohio Department of Higher Education for their continued recognition of the importance of mental health and well-being in student success,” said Ryan Lovell, associate vice president for student health and well-being in the Office of Student Life. “This funding builds upon our multi-pronged approach to student support and allows for the expansion of these important resources.”