The Ventura County Community College District has received a $500,000 State Chancellor’s Office Mental Health Grant to help close the gap in mental health services for its approximately 32,000 students. VCCCD is one of 16 Districts in the state to be awarded the grant, which begins May 2020. The 20-month program will provide services at Moorpark, Oxnard and Ventura colleges.
“This grant will help promote access, services and educational support for students who are struggling with mental health challenges,” said Dr. Cynthia Herrera, Dean of Strategic Partnerships and Planning. “The funding will help students successfully complete their degrees, certificates and transfer requirements. We find that students who face mental health issues often postpone or delay their educational aspirations in order to seek assistance and this program can help remove barriers for students.”
VCCCD sought funding after Ventura County experienced major tragedies and a California Health Interview Survey (Dec. 2018) found that 60 percent of the county’s adults need behavioral/mental healthcare services, with the highest need in the 18- to 24-year-old range.
A major emphasis of this grant will be to enhance collaborations and build stronger partnerships with county behavioral health departments and community-based organizations to support and provide direct mental health services to students. Students will be able to receive services related to intervention and suicide prevention. There will also be stigma reduction training activities for faculty, staff and students. The program will aim to reduce racial disparities in accessing mental health services and ensure that underserved and vulnerable student populations receive culturally competent mental health and referral services.
“We appreciate the work being done at the colleges to support students in these critical areas. The grant will allow us to expand our services and support students who may be facing challenges and struggles,” commented Board Chair Bernardo M. Perez.
The Ventura County Community College District is a member of the 115-campus California Community College system, and serves more than 32,000 students annually. The District’s three colleges–Moorpark, Oxnard, and Ventura–offer programs in general education for degrees and certificates, transfer to four-year colleges and universities, career technical education, and provide opportunities to engage in co-curricular campus activities. For more information, please visit vcccd.edu.