Mental Health Program

2009 October 7
Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education awarded $1 million for college mental health intervention study

Boulder, Colorado — The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has awarded $1 million to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) to test a college mental health intervention over the next two years. The grant will fund a groundbreaking study to test whether a community mental health intervention program reduces some of the barriers that keep college students from seeking mental health services.

Thirty-two campuses across the nation will participate in the study, which involves a survey of student mental health on each campus, as well as a peer-based mental health education program given to resident advisors on half of the campuses. The goal of the study is to determine whether the education program increases the use of mental health services on campuses that receive the education program.

 “Our hope is that if we educate students about mental illnesses and their treatments, they will use their enhanced knowledge to intervene when a fellow student shows signs of mental illness,” says Nicole Speer, co-principle investigator for the project. “If the study indicates the education program is successful, it will have a major impact on the early detection and treatment of mental illnesses in college students.”

“Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders are highly prevalent among college students, and most of these students are not receiving treatment,” said Daniel Eisenberg, a faculty member at the University of Michigan and co-principal investigator for the project. “This study is an opportunity to learn about how to address this issue.”

WICHE’s award is funded through a Challenge Grant from the National Institutes of Health. The Challenge Grants are funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

For more information on the Challenge Grants, go to: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/challenge_award/. For information about the study, or if your campus would like to participate, please contact Nicole Speer at nspeer@wiche.edu.