WATERVILLE — The prolonged pandemic has created more stress and anxiety than ever before, according to a 2022 survey by TimelyMD, the leading telehealth company focused on higher education. Nearly 90% of survey respondents reported a mental health crisis on college campuses.

Thomas College, no stranger to these experiences, has reported a 20% increase in the number of scheduled counseling appointments for academic year 2022-23 over 2021-22, according to a news release from the college.

Recently, Thomas College was awarded three separate grants to continue to improve support of students’ mental health. The Davis Family Foundation grant provided $20,000 in funding for 2022-23 to add clinical staffing for the counseling center; the Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) provided a $30,000 planning grant for 2023-24 to develop a comprehensive behavioral health strategic plan for the campus.

Through their partnership with the Morgan Stanley Foundation, the JED Foundation provided a $22,000 scholarship, allowing Thomas College to pursue JED Campus certification. The JED Foundation is designed to help schools evaluate and strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems to ensure that schools have the strongest possible mental health safety nets. There are over 450 campuses engaged in the JED Campus program. Upon completing this process, Thomas College would be recognized as the first JED accredited campus in Maine.

Grants from these three funders are being utilized to serve immediate student needs, and fund student positions to assist and help co-lead the campus team in developing the college’s plan and support the behavioral health strategic planning process.


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