ACE Holds Student Mental Health Briefing on Capitol Hill
March 11, 2024

​As part of efforts to address the growing student mental health crisis on college campuses, ACE hosted a briefing for congressional staff on Capitol Hill March 6.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) opened the conversation, noting the need for student mental health intervention. He was followed by a panel of campus leaders to discuss the issue, what steps institutions are taking to assist students and faculty, and how the federal government can better help. ACE’s Hollie Chessman moderated the panel, which featured Sonya Clyburn, director of the Counseling Center at Morgan State University; Carlota Ocampo, provost at Trinity Washington University; and Sasha Zhou, assistant professor at Wayne State University.

After Zhou provided an overview of the current data and trends regarding student mental health, the panelists raised multiple ways institutions are tackling student mental health, such as expanding campus counseling services, increasing telehealth services, implementing community partners, and utilizing crisis lines. The discussion also touched on legislative proposals being advanced by ACE to expand federal support and increase access to telehealth and other services.

Zhou noted the importance of reaching college students experiencing mental health symptoms for the first time as a way to “truly serve as a catalyst for long-term success and well-being.”

Ocampo and Clyburn emphasized that a holistic approach to student mental health provides the greatest opportunity for the most success. In addition, trauma-centered and informed counseling and interactions are crucial for understanding and recognizing distress in students and managing difficult conversations.