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NC Gov. Cooper announces $7.7 million in funding for mental health services in the UNC System

The funds will be used for suicide training initiatives and continued access to suicide hotlines for students, among other programs.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov. Roy Cooper announced $7.7 million in funding for mental health services in the University of North Carolina (UNC) System.

The announcement came just two days after the eighth student death of the year at NC State University, an apparent suicide.

The funds will be used to support new mental health initiatives and sustain previously established initiatives from Cooper's $5 million grant from May 2021.

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“Identifying their mental distress and getting them access to quality treatment is more critical for our students than ever,” Cooper said. "This investment will help our state’s colleges and universities better support their students so they can thrive.”

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The UNC Systems will offer suicide prevention training to faculty and staff in the North Carolina Community College System, as well as in the state's independent colleges and universities. The goal is to provide faculty and staff across the three systems with the tools to better find and support students in crises.

The funding will also be used to provide students in all 17 UNC institutions continued access to after-hours mental health hotlines and for resiliency training for faculty, staff and students. 

The UNC System used the initial $5 million dollar investment in 2021 to launch a mental health first Aad training program for faculty and staff. By November 2022, 274 mental health first aid instructors, across all three college systems, had been trained. Those instructors have since trained almost 2,500 faculty and staff across their respective campuses. 

“There has been a troubling rise in mental health challenges for young people across our nation, and we’re seeing the impact here in North Carolina,” said Peterr Hans, UNC System president. “We need to meet that need with urgency and compassion, and these funds go a long way in helping us reach students who are struggling.”

Funding for these mental health initiatives comes from federal Emergency Assistance for Non-Public Schools (EANS) funds.

If you or a loved one are facing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, there is help readily available. You can call Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or chat with them online. There are also resources in North Carolina available here and in South Carolina available here.

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