Northwest Technical College and Bemidji State University Expand Mental Health Services for Students

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Northwest Technical College and Bemidji State University 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 percent of those surveyed reported mental health issues, and 55 percent indicating that mental health issues impacted their academic performance.

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

“We are honored to receive this very generous grant,” he said. “These funds will strengthen our capacity to meet our goals of equity and student success, and better support the mental health and wellbeing of our students — regardless of whether they are on-campus or online students.

“We also owe thanks to Jenna Trisko, our grant writer, for helping us develop this successful proposal.”

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.

“These services are integral to ensuring student access to and coordination of mental health services,” Anderson said. “Our main priority with this grant is to advance access to care to improve student health, well-being and academic progress. Positive mental health tends to coincide with a student’s level of retention and persistence through college.”

Bemidji State and Northwest Tech 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.

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.

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MN State logoNorthwest Technical College, located in northern Minnesota’s lake district, has prepared students for fulfilling careers in high-demand fields for more than 50 years. The college’s accessible, affordable, hands-on programs also help the region’s employers meet their ever-growing need for a highly skilled workforce. NTC serves more than 1,000 students with an excellent education, an open-enrollment policy and affordable tuition. Students may pursue nearly 40 degree, diploma and certificate programs in six distinct career paths. Classes are offered on campus, online, or as a combination of both. NTC is a member of the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities. For more, visit ntcmn.edu.