From hiring clinicians to establishing a crisis text line, Miami University students will soon see the benefits of a near $1 million grant from the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) designed to bolster mental health services.
Miami was awarded a total of $979,650 over the next two fiscal years dedicated to student mental health support. House Bill 33 included a $20 million line item to be distributed to Ohio’s public and not-for-profit campuses. A formula was then used to determine the allocation of funds to eligible institutions.
Steve Large, Miami’s assistant vice president for health and wellness in the Division of Student Life, said the funding will be used to build upon and advance recent efforts the university has prioritized pertaining to student mental health. Goals include increasing campus-wide knowledge, awareness, and access to available care options and creating sustained community-based programs and initiatives.
“ODHE’s support allows us to continue to think broadly and creatively about how to best serve our students,” Large said. “It’s meaningful to see this level of support from the governor and the governor’s office. It reinforces that we are part of a bigger community as a public university in Ohio that really understands and supports mental health. That’s a good feeling.”
Collaboration was key during the application process, Large said, noting the involvement of the office of ASPIRE, the president’s office, Miami Regionals, and representatives from Oxford’s departments of Student Counseling Service, the Office of Student Wellness, and the grants office.
“Our process was highly collaborative and very intentional,” Large said. “Everything suggested in this grant application was done so because we thought it would have a meaningful impact.”
Determining impact was made easier due to Miami’s use of a “stepped care” philosophical framework to serve students. This framework, adapted from Peter Cornish’s “Stepped Care 2.0” model (2020), is an evidence-based, multi-stage approach to organizing the delivery of mental health care in such a way that promotes the full range of services offered on campus.
“Students often assume their only option for support is individual counseling. The framework ultimately ensures that students engage the right level of service or support as their needs change over time.” Large said.
As the university implements the plan associated with ODHE’s funding and continues the work of last year’s institutional mental health taskforce, the input and involvement of others is welcomed.
“We hope to inspire everybody to be engaged in the conversation,” Large said. “We want mental health to be prioritized in such a way that everyone across campus feels sufficiently informed and empowered to talk about it.”