For the third consecutive year, Fairmont State University has been awarded grant funding through the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s Campus Mental Health Grant program.
This year, the $4,000 in funding will be used to design and implement the Incentivized Holistic Wellness Assessment, a joint initiative of Fairmont State’s Offices of Student Health, Accessibility, Social Work, and Nursing. The purpose of this comprehensive examination is to identify students’ barriers to success at Fairmont State and connect them to the appropriate resources.
In addition to physical health, the exam will assess students’ financial concerns, housing accommodations, diet and nutrition, food security, significant stressors, and other needs. To increase involvement, each student who participates in the assessment will receive 10 “Falcon Dollars” that can be used for dining and other services on campus.
“Assessing the students holistically will allow us to proactively uncover barriers to the students’ success and replace those barriers with support and resources to help them excel,” said Chelsea Collins, APRN, FNP-C, Director of Student Health at Fairmont State.
Collins, the project lead for the assessment, was also project lead for Fairmont State’s past Campus Mental Health Grants in 2022 and 2023. This award coincides with the construction of a new, larger Student Health Center in the Falcon Center, which will include additional facilities specific to the promotion of mental wellness.
Caitlin Jiven, LGSW, shared how the Incentivized Holistic Wellness Assessment could impact her work in her new role as Fairmont State’s first University Social Worker. Jividen joined the Fairmont State community in June of 2023.
“The Holistic Wellness Assessment will help us see and uncover what some of our students are dealing with in their personal lives outside of the classroom setting,” Jividen stated. “This initiative allows us to be proactive and help our students before they fall into a hole that is difficult to climb out of.”
The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission awards Campus Mental Health Grants for projects to improve student mental health on college campuses using evidence-based programming. Previously, Fairmont State received the grant to promote mental health and wellness through enhanced services and support groups as well as planned campus activities.
These included the Campus Wellness Fair with a mental health focus, the Stomp Out the Stigma event to reduce mental health stigma, and the Bandana Project for mental health awareness and suicide prevention.
“Being awarded the Campus Mental Health Grant for three consecutive years by WVHEPC has been incredible for our office,” said Collins. “The funding from WVHEPC allows us to create programs that focus on students’ emotional well-being and promote healthy ways to cope with stress. Every cent of the money awarded will directly impact the mental wellness of our students.”