UNC shared details of its upcoming mental health summit for the campus community on Thursday.
The university will hold a gathering of mental health researchers and experts to speak with students, staff and others related to UNC on Monday, November 15. The summit, which will last from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., is to chiefly discuss campus culture, crisis services and prevention strategies at Carolina.
A message from UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Amy Johnson and School of Medicine distinguished professor Samantha Meltzer-Brody detailed what students and other attendees can expect.
“While the summit will be held virtually, we encourage your engagement and dialogue with the presenters,” the trio wrote. “Registration is open to all students, faculty and staff, and you are welcome to join us for one session or the entire day as your schedule permits. The program will be recorded so that you can view the discussions you missed at your convenience and so we may share it more broadly with key stakeholders and friends of our Carolina community.”
The summit is being held after several tragedies on UNC campus this fall semester. In September, one UNC student died by suicide in the area near the Forest Theatre, while two others died by suicide within the same weekend in October.
While the campus community has held rallies, set up displays recognizing their three peers and even called attention to mental health struggles during athletics matches, Guskiewicz said the university would work to continue the dialogue around mental wellness. He said in addition to the summit, there will be a campus-wide campaign launched soon to promote and support mental health awareness.
Meanwhile, the UNC System announced funding grants for several mental health initiatives, not just at the Chapel Hill campus, but also 11 other institutions. The system awarded more than $980,000 in total to the schools aiming to “increase behavioral health capacity and strengthen mental health resources.”
A release from the system said the money is from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief fund, with the grants designed to give its universities the chance to make “immediate investments” in their resources, programming and staff.
“These grants should help campuses scale up their mental health services to meet the real and growing needs of students,” said Peter Hans, president of the UNC System. “We must do all we can to support our students who have faced added stress during the pandemic. Mental health wellness is a high priority for our universities, and a key part of helping students reach their academic goals.”
According to Friday’s release, the UNC System says UNC-Chapel Hill will use its $98,027 in funding to “develop student peer supporters and enhanced web resources.”
To register for UNC’s mental health summit on November 15, sign up here. To read the full message from UNC leadership on the summit, visit the Office of the Chancellor’s website.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255.
UNC students can contact UNC Counseling and Psychological Services at the 24-hour phone line at 919-966-3658.
Photo via Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill.
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