SUNY forming task force to strengthen mental health services on all campuses

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BROCKPORT, N.Y. (WROC) – It’s no secret the stress levels of college students can be high- and now the State University of New York is stepping in to help. SUNY is creating the Student Mental Health and Wellness Task Force.

Magdil Gomez and many other students at The College at Brockport say they’ve seen their friends dealing with mental health issues from the stress of college.

“You’re basically transitioning from being a kid to being an adult, it’s very scary for some people,” Gomez said.

That’s why SUNY is forming a task force- to come up with the best ways to serve students. Darlene Schmitt is the associate director of the counseling center at Brockport. She said she’s excited to take a deeper look into what students really need.

“I think it is destigmatizing to put so much attention and focus on it and I think students will be less uncomfortable seeking help, so the volume will go up of students seeking help. It’s a good thing but we need to have the resources to support them,” Schmitt said.

With 64 campuses across the state, there are varying needs. That’s why staff, administrators, and faculty from several different schools will be part of the group. The group will specifically focus on early intervention and improving existing practices. Gomez said having the support you need can make all the difference.

“Once you see there’s a chance to be better, people will more or less try to be better than they were yesterday.”

The group will also apply for external funding, in addition to state aid they recently received. SUNY was given a portion of the Garrett Lee Smith grant received by the New York State Office of Mental Health to assist with suicide prevention. The task force is just getting started and will present its recommendations to the SUNY Board of Trustees next May.

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