IC receives GEER Fund grant to support mental health training


Illinois College was recently awarded a $50,000 state grant that will provide a sustainable campus-wide network prepared to support the mental health needs of students.

The grant-funded training includes instruction on mental health issues, role-playing and guidelines for recognizing when to refer students to a counselor. It is being taught with the assistance of two mental health professionals trained in Mental Health First Aid, as well as experience in higher education settings.

Illinois College’s Center for Academic Excellence, in collaboration with Chesley Health and Wellness Center, began training for faculty and staff members in January.

Over the course of the semester, the mental health professionals assisting with the program will return to campus for eight sessions to offer additional training to widen the net of support.

“The goal is to encourage representatives from across campus — student leaders, faculty and staff — who are student-facing to participate in the training throughout the spring semester,” said Amy Schwiderski ’91, associate dean and director of the center for academic excellence. “This will ensure there is an extensive and broad net across all departments on campus to look after and assist students’ mental health needs.”

The training will build on the mental health resources that are readily available to Illinois College students.

The Chesley Health and Wellness Center provides on-campus student services such as primary medical care, education on healthy lifestyles, disease and injury prevention, management of chronic illness or disability, public health initiatives, and counseling by licensed professionals. Students are also provided information about off-campus support services.

Starting in the fall semester of 2022, students have even easier access to information about services on and off campus. Every new student ID includes a QR code that quickly and easily links to an up-to-date list of resources available on the web page.

The grant is funded by the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, established in the CARES Act to provide local educational agencies, higher education institutions and other education-related entities with emergency assistance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Illinois. With an enrollment of more than 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs. In 1932, the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

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