New Jersey Launches Pioneering Partnership to Address Student Mental Health Crisis
As an ambitious response to the escalating youth mental health crisis, the Murphy Administration has unveiled a novel partnership with Uwill – a renowned mental health and wellness platform – thereby making New Jersey the first state in the nation to take such a decisive step. The innovative partnership will deliver 24/7 access to free virtual mental health services to students at 44 higher education institutions across the state, initiating a new era in student support.
In recent years, the burgeoning demand for mental health services has challenged the resources of many educational institutions, leaving students in need of immediate help. The alliance with Uwill introduces a comprehensive, state-wide approach, offering tele-mental health services that will significantly expand access to care for both public and private institutions.
Governor Phil Murphy underscores the urgency of this issue, stating, "With the challenges these past few years have presented, young people around New Jersey and the nation are facing a mental health crisis like never before. It is incumbent upon us to do everything in our power to provide young people with access to the support they need."
A crucial aspect of the partnership is the emphasis on diversity and multicultural competency among the Uwill network of mental health providers, ensuring that the needs of underrepresented students will be met. Secretary of Higher Education Dr. Brian Bridges affirmed the significance of this alliance, highlighting that the mental health crisis "leaves current initiatives and on-site services stretched beyond their capacities."
Uwill Founder and CEO, Michael London, reiterated the company's commitment to their mission, "to expand mental health care so that every student has access to quality mental health support," praising Governor Murphy and Secretary Bridges for their dedication to the mental health of New Jersey college students.
A recent survey conducted by the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE) indicated that over 70 percent of New Jersey students rated their stress and anxiety levels as higher or much higher than the previous year. Governor Murphy has placed youth mental health at the forefront of his Chair's Initiative as head of the National Governors Association in response to these staggering figures.
The partnership is funded by $10 million from the American Rescue Plan and supplemented by the State's $16 million investment for higher education institutions to develop community partnerships and cultivate multicultural competency.
Among eligible institutions, 96 percent have opted into this partnership, including prestigious establishments such as Princeton University, Rutgers University, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, emphasizing the significant consensus around the urgency of mental health support for students.