Your Mind Matters initiative expected to help faculty address mental health concerns

Saddleback College received funding for Your Mind Matters: Breaking Down Barriers for Mental Health Wellness

The South Orange County Community College District, along with 15 other community college districts in California were awarded a $350,000 California Community College Mental Health Services Program grant on Feb. 15. The grant will be utilized by Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College to develop Your Mind Matters: Breaking Down Barriers for Mental Health Wellness and to expand the range of mental health assistance for students.

Saddleback College provided health services to more than 12,000 students in 2017, a 25 percent increase from 2016. Whereas, at Irvine Valley College 15 percent of healthcare services were related to mental health in 2017. Furthermore, a 2017 report of the American College Health Association found that one in four college students has a diagnosable mental illness.

“Our goal in obtaining this grant is to provide desperately needed mental health wellness support in a safe, confidential, and accessible manner to support our students so they can obtain their educational goals,” said Jeanne Harris-Caldwell, director of student health services at Saddleback.

The program is a comprehensive strategy for colleges to follow. The initiative will implement training for faculty and staff in order to be able to reach, screen and assist students and their mental health needs. The proposal plans to create a mental health task force and an advisory committee with student and community members as well.