UToledo Receives Racial Justice and Equity Award to Support Mental Health Initiatives

March 22, 2022 | News, UToday, Student Affairs
By Meghan Cunningham

The University of Toledo has been selected by the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities as the third recipient of its Racial Justice and Equity Program Award.

Aligned with the organization’s efforts to address racial injustice and inequity through university-city partnerships, the award will support UToledo’s partnership with local organizations to address mental health challenges facing Black and Latinx students as part of a broader effort to increase student wellness on campus.

“We’re thrilled to select The University of Toledo a Racial Justice and Equity Award Winner,” said Mitzy González, program manager at the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities. “We’re facing a national mental health crisis, and we know these challenges are particularly acute for college students. The University of Toledo is taking an innovative approach to tackling this challenge head-on — with a particular focus on addressing the needs of students from minoritized populations.”

The $20,000 award will support a Rockets Matter initiative at UToledo that focuses on meeting the basic needs of today’s students with a focus on improving a sense of belonging on campus to support student success.

“We are excited to receive the Racial Justice and Equity Award and support from the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities in our efforts to increase awareness about mental health services available to students and to destigmatize seeking care. It is OK to not be OK,” said Dr. Sammy Spann, interim senior associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students. “We are looking forward to partnering with local organizations and businesses to help more students receive the care they need and to address equity gaps for receiving that care.”

Examining national survey data, UToledo found that students from historically underserved populations were more likely to face mental health challenges such as depression and anxiety but less likely to seek treatment.

UToledo is partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Illness Greater Toledo and local barbershops and beauty shops to promote resources for seeking mental health care, as well as planning social media campaigns and on-campus events.

The Coalition of Urban Serving Universities Racial Justice and Equity Scholars Program supports urban university efforts in three thematic areas – thriving students, thriving universities and thriving communities – to explicitly address policies that produce equity gaps. Award winners must directly partner with external organizations to advance their work. Each award winner works closely with USU over the course of 12 months to collect data, monitor progress, evaluate outcomes and disseminate project findings.

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