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Press Release

More than 360 campus leaders from across North Carolina will gather to connect, collaborate on mental health issues

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — University of North Carolina System President Peter Hans will give remarks on mental health at the UNC System’s 2023 Behavioral Health Convening on March 21.

The convening, an annual event hosted in partnership with North Carolina Community Colleges and North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, will be held at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill. The theme is “Connecting and Collaborating to Create a Strong and Healthy Future.” Forty educational sessions will be held across a daylong event.

More than 360 campus administrators, mental health providers, student affairs professionals, faculty, and student leaders from around the state will gather to develop ideas, share best practices, and discuss ways to nurture a healthy student body. With record attendance, the event is focused on the innovative work taking place on campuses across the UNC System, NCCCS, and NCICU.

“We’ve seen a generational decline in mental health in this country, with many young people facing challenges that require care, help, and compassion,” Hans said. “Though this problem is not confined to college and university campuses, we are working on many fronts to build resiliency and wellbeing among our students. I’m grateful to the professional staff and student leaders for coming together to strengthen their campus communities.”

Last month, the UNC System was awarded $7.7 million from Gov. Roy Cooper’s Office to support mental health initiatives, in addition to $5 million in education emergency relief funding in 2021. The System collaborated with private and community colleges to train thousands of faculty, staff and students in Mental Health First Aid, a course that equips participants to identify and respond to at-risk individuals.

The System has also maintained an after-hours support hotline since 2020, started a telepsychiatry pilot program, launched an off-campus provider referral network, issued microgrants to students for off-campus care, and implemented a clinically moderated peer support program at three institutions.

The new funding will focus on prevention, including resilience training for incoming students and grants for campus programs that develop life skills and healthy mindsets.

About The University of North Carolina System

The University of North Carolina System enrolls 240,000 students at 17 institutions, including the state’s 16 public universities and the nation’s first public residential high school for academically gifted students. The UNC System is among the strongest and most diverse higher education systems in the country, with more than $1.9 billion in research expenditures and campuses that serve every region of the state. Affiliate organizations include UNC Health and PBS North Carolina, with its 12-station broadcast network.