Rose-Hulman Sharing in $8M Lilly Endowment Grants to Expand Student Mental Health Services

Thursday, March 25, 2021
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The MINDful College Connections not-for-profit consortium, starting this fall, will enable participating institutions to more efficiently and effectively focus on preventive care strategies and increase student access to mental health services.

Rose-Hulman will share in $8 million Lilly Endowment Inc. grants that will fund collaboration with nearby DePauw University and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College to expand mental health resources for students.

Rose-Hulman is one of 16 institutions being supported by Lilly Endowment funding in the final phase of Charting the Future of Indiana’s Colleges and Universities – an initiative designed to help colleges and universities assess and prioritize the most significant challenges and opportunities they face as higher education institutions, and develop strategies to address them. Rose-Hulman, DePauw, and SMWC will each receive a grant of $2,695,912 to support the collaboration.

The MINDful College Connections not-for-profit consortium, starting this fall, will enable Rose-Hulman, DePauw, and SMWC to more efficiently and effectively focus on preventive care strategies and increase student access to mental health services. The institutions will be able to share knowledge, experiences, and resources – like psychiatrists, counselors, and telehealth services – while retaining the ability to customize resources to the needs of their individual campus’ student populations.

“Indiana’s colleges and universities face a myriad of challenges as they work to fulfill their educational missions while adapting to growing financial pressures, rapid demographic and technological changes, and evolving needs and demands of students,” said Ted Maple, the Endowment’s vice president for education. “We are pleased with the creative and collaborative approaches the colleges and universities are taking to address these challenges and seize opportunities to better serve their students, institutions, communities and the state of Indiana.”

President Robert A. Coons says that over the course of the next five years, the consortium, covering approximately 5,000 students, will develop and implement effective mental health awareness, education, training, resources, and services targeted at increasing well-being and academic success of college students at each institution.

“We are so appreciative of the fact that Lilly Endowment has recognized the need to address our students’ current and future mental health service needs,” said Coons, adding that Rose-Hulman’s past partnerships with the Endowment have helped address areas of retention, career services, and academic preparedness. “High anxiety, stress, and depression have been growing issues in U.S. higher education for the past decade. The COVID-19 pandemic has provided additional student mental health challenges that need to be addressed. This grant enhances our efforts.”

Erik Hayes, dean of students and vice president for student affairs, says campus-based services and dedicated staff who are familiar with the institution can significantly improve knowledge of mental health issues and reduce their associated stigma. He adds that just as academic consortia increase access to a wider selection of programs and courses, a mental health consortium will increase access to a broader range and level of services tailored to college students.

Lilly Endowment launched the three-phased Charting the Future initiative in 2019 to help leaders of the state’s 38 colleges and universities engage in thoughtful discernment about the future of their institutions and to advance strategic planning and implementation efforts to address key challenges and opportunities.

Collaboration was encouraged, especially in this third and final phase of Charting the Future, and several schools proposed collaborative programs and strategies. Through three phases of grantmaking, Lilly Endowment awarded more than $138 million to the schools.

Through earlier rounds of the initiative, all 38 schools received planning grants, which were approved in December 2019, and implementation grants approved in June and September 2020. The implementation grants funded strategies to improve efforts to prepare students for successful futures and strengthen the schools’ long-term institutional vitality.
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