University of California Equity in Mental Health Initiative
The California Budget Act of 2021 included $15 million in ongoing funds to support the behavioral health and wellness (BH&W) needs of University of California (UC) students. This funding led to the development of the Equity in Mental Health funding plan, whereby the 10 UC campuses submitted proposals to address critical unmet BH&W needs of their student community.
The Equity in Mental Health Funding Plan focuses on supporting a holistic approach to addressing BH&W concerns, considering intrapersonal, interpersonal, institutional, community, and public policy issues to promote a culture of health and wellbeing within each campus. The funds are an essential mechanism to support some of the most vulnerable, marginalized, and historically underserved student community members by including an explicit focus on improving health equity. In doing so, the Equity in Mental Health funding plan aims to address inequities and improve the student BH&W campuswide.
The overarching goal of this initiative is to improve UC students' behavioral health and wellness (BH&W). To achieve the stated objectives, the UCSB Project Covitality is consulting with various stakeholders to solicit information about the student behavioral health and wellness data currently collected by UC campuses. During the initiative's early phases, the UCSB team examined which BH&W data was collected by each UC campus and:
1. identified the original survey sources;
2. summarized survey-related research evidence;
3. identified who originally collected the data; and
4. summarized survey administration frequency, response rates, and time elapsed since data collection.
We examined the measures and data collection methods employed on individual UC campuses to identify unmet BH&W needs-assessment data needs.
In the following initiative phases, the UCSB Project Coviality team will support efforts to identify and operationalize optimal BH&W indicators supporting Tier1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 mental health and wellness services and supports.
Gevirtz Graduate School of Education
Erin Dowdy, PhD
Michael Furlong, PhD
Karen Nylund-Gibson, PhD