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November 12, 2020

University wellness partnership targets students’ mental health

CARES grant to fund offerings aimed at reducing stress, anxiety and depression

The Ohio State University has received new state grant funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) to create and expand programming to help undergraduate and graduate students cope with stress, anxiety, depression and burnout associated with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A partnership of the Office of the University Chief Wellness Officer, Office of Student Life and College of Nursing is creating a suite of evidence-based resources, workshops and solutions aimed at helping students on Ohio State’s campuses improve their coping and resiliency skills.

“We have heard from many students about how stressed, worried, scared and depressed they feel as they try to balance the pressures of the pandemic with their academic and professional pursuits,” said Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer and dean of the College of Nursing. “We are grateful for the grant funding awarded to us to help assess students’ well-being and offer them evidence-based programs and resources to help fortify their skills to deal with these pressures.”

The CARES grant, which totals approximately $611,000, will fund programs including:

  • SilverCloud: Student Life will purchase this online program with three modules targeting stress, anxiety and depression. SliverCloud solutions are evidence-based programs grounded in cognitive-behavior therapy, and this aspect will increase students’ access to care and mental health support.
  • Telehealth Wellness Hub: This online resource will be created to guide students through a comprehensive total health and well-being assessment. Based on that assessment, students can choose to be paired with an advanced practice nurse practitioner student from the Ohio State College of Nursing who will provide wellness coaching and support via telehealth technologies. This hub will be offered to undergraduate students at all of Ohio State’s campuses.
  • MINDSTRONG™: MINDSTRONG is specifically designed to help build coping skills and improve resiliency to help students deal with stress, anxiety or depressed mood. Twenty different research studies show that this evidence-based, cognitive-behavioral skills-building program can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression while improving healthy lifestyle behaviors. MINDSTRONG will be offered to both undergraduate and graduate students in a virtual setting.
  • Student programming: An allocation of grant funding will pay for programming to help students in quarantine and isolation housing stay connected and engaged. Additional funds will expand weekend virtual programming through the Office of Student Life.
  • Health Athlete: This program was developed in partnership with Johnson & Johnson’s Human Performance Institute. Health Athlete helps participants manage their energy and guide mental, emotional, physical and spiritual development to refocus and re-energize their lives. Participants will learn how they can become more engaged, more productive and more optimistic through these workshops. Health Athlete will be offered to graduate students.
  • Stress and Well-Being Assessment: This online screening will be offered specifically to graduate students. It measures stress and well-being and is designed to match participants with appropriate resources to help them cope with life’s challenges. Students will also be offered wellness coaching.

“We know that many students are struggling as this pandemic continues,” said Melissa Shivers, PhD, vice president for student life at Ohio State. “It has touched lives in so many ways, and we believe in our students’ resiliency and want to help them believe in it, too.”

The grant requires that funded programming must be offered between now and the turn of the year. The screenings and workshops offered by this partnership will launch by mid-November.

Students can find more information and sign up for this special programming at


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