CAMARILLO, Calif. - The Ventura County Community College District received a $500,000 grant which they will use to provide mental health services for its more than 30,000 students.
The grant was provided by the California State Chancellor's Office and additional grants were issued to 15 other districts.
The funding begins in May and will last for 20 months.
“This grant will help promote access, services and educational support for students who are struggling with mental health challenges,” Dr. Cynthia Herrera, VCCCD Dean of Strategic Partnerships and Planning said in a press release. “We find that students who face mental health issues often postpone or delay their educational aspirations in order to seek assistance and this program can help remove barriers for students.”
The district decided to seek out the funding after major tragedies in Ventura County. A California health survey found that 60 percent of adults in the county need mental and behavioral health services, with the highest need being in adults between 18 and 24.
"A major emphasis of this grant will be to enhance collaborations and build stronger partnerships with county behavioral health departments and community-based organizations to support and provide direct mental health services to students," the press release said.
Thanks to the grant, students will have access to intervention and suicide prevention services. There will also be stigma reduction training activities for faculty, staff and students.
The district says the program will place an onus on reducing racial disparities in access to mental health services and ensure that underserved and vulnerable students receive culturally competent mental health services.