Tulsa Community College Receives $625K to Help with Mental Health Training and Awareness


With the goal of training 1,000 individuals in mental health awareness, Tulsa Community College has received a $625,000, five-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Across the county, mental health concerns and student distress were increasing before COVID. To address those needs, TCC had already taken steps to increase awareness across the College. This new grant expands training for TCC faculty, staff, and students so they are able to assist and direct individuals to needed resources within the College and the community.

“This fall we are seeing a predictable increase in need due to the stress of the ongoing pandemic,” says Jessica Heavin, Director of Wellness Services. “For many, it’s not necessarily a mental health concern, but more of a general distress given their specific circumstances. TCC is being proactive, taking a public health approach to ensuring those who interact with our students are aware of in-the-moment techniques, and can direct students who need more assistance.”

TCC serves roughly 22,000 students a year where nearly half are students of color and one in three students are first-generation college students. The student population is ethnically diverse represented by low-income young adults who have a higher-than-average likelihood of being uninsured.

TCC will receive $125,000 each year for five years from the grant to support Mental Health Matters, an initiative focused on providing coordinated care for students in need of mental health services.

“Over these five years, we will continue to develop a network of individuals who can identify and help someone in distress, as well as create innovative mental health awareness campaigns. Raising the level of awareness, as we did with a similar initiative to train 817 faculty, staff, students and community members beginning in 2018, works. It was a critical component to our COVID-19 response, and I was confident our faculty/staff and students could help those around them navigate the array of challenges they were facing. It is exciting to get to expand and continue this work,” says Heavin.

Mental Health Matters incorporates training across the College for staff and faculty including law enforcement personnel as well as student groups including veteran students. TCC will ramp up the number of individuals trained each year, beginning with 150 in year one, to reach 1,000 by the end of year five.