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SUNY Chancellor King visits Oswego, ESF campuses as state increases funding for mental-health services

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

Date:

SUNY Chancellor John King, Jr., pictured here speaking at Onondaga Community College in October 2023, on Wednesday visited both SUNY Oswego and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse. He used the visits to discuss funding for mental-health services at both campuses and at SUNY campuses statewide. (Eric Reinhardt / CNYBJ)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — SUNY campuses are allocating nearly $10 million in annual state funding to increase their mental-health services and support for students, faculty, and staff.

The funding will expand services at 28 campuses, support more than 200,000 students, and build on its Statewide Tele-Psychiatry Network (STPN) and new tele-counseling option for community colleges, the office of Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday

This money was secured through the state’s $163 million recurring increase in direct operating aid to SUNY’s state-operated campuses this year, per Hochul’s office.

SUNY Chancellor John King, Jr. discussed the funding’s impact during Wednesday visits to SUNY Oswego and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse.

“Mental health is health, and as more students seek mental-health care, we need to be there for them with expanded services, including having enough counselors on campus or online 24-7,” King said in a state news release. “Mental health care is a critical support for student success, and we are grateful for the Governor’s ongoing commitment and investment across SUNY’s campuses, including $10 million in annual funding for mental health support.”  

Oswego, ESF impacts

At Oswego, he spoke with students about mental health and met with counselors and staff at the recently renovated Mary Walker Health Center. The center houses the campus counseling services and is named after Oswego native Mary Walker, the only female Medal of Honor recipient, Hochul’s office said.

SUNY Oswego is allocating its new state funding toward hiring more staff to support students, such as staff that specialize in providing care to students from marginalized backgrounds. The school is also entering tele-counseling contracts to provide more access to therapy and practitioners from diverse backgrounds, and extending counselor contracts so they can provide services over the summer months. The funding is also allowing the campus to provide an increase in pay to per-diem staff who offer much-needed services, Hochul’s office noted.

SUNY ESF will use its funding to hire additional staff to support the campus community. It’ll also utilize the money to host a mental-health symposium to bring together staff, faculty, and students for an event that focuses on topics related to mental health. The ESF campus will also launch a peer-ambassador program to assist with programming initiatives on campus.

 

 

 

 

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