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Connecticut launches a mental health program for college students

mental health
Kevin Simmons

Connecticut has launched a $2.7 million program to help college students with mental health problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The money is from the state’s federal COVID relief funds.

Mental health problems are at an all-time high among college students, according to Connecticut officials. Thirty-nine percent reported symptoms of depression last fall, and another 83% of students said their academic performance had been negatively affected.

That’s why the state has set up the Connecticut Campus Mental Health Program, said Governor Ned Lamont. It would help boost awareness of mental health services available to students, he said.

“Ninety percent of the kids were just so happy to get back to school. But for some of the kids it was incredibly stressful. We thought being with your friends was going to lower the temperature but in many cases it raised the temperature,” Lamont said.

It will take the pressure off emergency rooms that have become a first resort for many young people with mental health issues, Lamont said.

“So we're doing everything we can, and making it easier, making sure we have more beds. Making sure we have those trained specialists necessary to deal with those severe mental health issues," Lamont said.

The program is expected to help more than 130,000 undergraduate students in 28 colleges and universities across Connecticut.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.