Remarks by Timothy P. WhiteChancellor, The California State UniversityMental Health ConveningLong Beach, CaliforniaApril 10, 2019
Good morning, Adam. I clearly remember your first report as Chairman to the assembled Board of Trustees last July. In it, you outlined your vision for this very convening – for bringing together California State University administrators, campus-based mental health providers, and mental and behavioral health professionals from across the state … in a spirit of collaboration and cooperation … to develop more robust services for our students, both on campus and in their communities. I thank you for your vision – realized today – and for your consistent and untiring work to shine a spotlight on our students’ mental and behavioral health needs. Your work is critically important. It is appreciated. And it is producing results.
Thanks also to everyone in this room for your attendance and participation at this inaugural meeting.
Also, I too would like to acknowledge and thank Denise Bevly and Loren Blanchard’s Division of Academic and Student Affairs. Dr. Bevly and her staff have worked tirelessly on this convening, along with so many other efforts focused on students’ well-being.
We all know that students who are healthy – physically, mentally and emotionally – are more likely to attend class, be authentically engaged learners and graduate in a timely fashion.
More broadly, only those who are healthy in a holistic sense are truly able to thrive in their years on a Cal State campus – getting every ounce out of what should be the experience of a lifetime, where passions are discovered and dreams are formed.
I want to acknowledge the difficult and valuable work each of you do, whether you are with CSU Counseling and Psychological Services or are a county mental health services professional. It’s significant that we have gathered together today at this inaugural convening … to share the challenges we face and the best practices that we have developed … with the mutual goal of better connecting CSU students to comprehensive and effective mental health resources, on campus and off.
All of Cal State’s campus-based mental health counselors are highly skilled, licensed professionals who are entirely dedicated to providing the very best care for our students. And we are mindful that all the latest research and data indicate a significant jump in the demand for student mental health services. As Chairman Day noted in his remarks, today’s young adults face unprecedented levels of mental distress. They are almost 50 percent more likely to suffer from major depression and are more prone to suicidal ideation than the millennial generation that preceded them. That’s why it is imperative that we become even more innovative in our approach to addressing the complex mental health issues our students face. We must incorporate more upstream, preventative strategies that allow us to reach our students before they enter a crisis situation.
The California State University is the first university system in the country to launch this sort of collaborative effort on a statewide level. Today’s meeting marks a significant step … one we all should be proud of.
Earlier, I spoke of the CSU’s campuses as places where passions are discovered and dreams are shaped – and where students are equipped with the knowledge and tools to achieve those dreams.
Mental health issues can – tragically – rob students of this life-changing experience.
You are the guardians of this experience … you are the protectors of these dreams. The work you do – work that will be advanced through today’s exchange of ideas and sharing of best practices – provides our students with the foundation they need to succeed academically, professionally and personally.
I hope today’s meeting marks the beginning of a longstanding and productive partnership. Thank you again for being a part of this groundbreaking effort. I am fully confident it will have a profound and positive impact on thousands of current and future students.