CAPS Awarded $100,000 Grant to Support Rural Mental Health

Published: August 02, 2021 | Author: Lawrence Mbaki | Read Time: 2 minutes

Southern Utah University's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has received $100,000 from the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs to directly support students impacted by the mental and behavioral health challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Living in a rural area where SUU is located, we’ve seen difficulties meeting the high demands of students who seek access to mental health resources,” said Dr. Curt Hill, director of CAPS. “Securing these funds allows us to increase availability and access for community members, especially our students, to these important services.”

The grant could not be more timely. The global pandemic has increased mental and behavioral health issues. Several surveys, including those collected by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), have shown substantial increases in self-reported behavioral health symptoms. Funds will be used to hire a new staff member experienced with multicultural populations, helping those with limited access to mental health resources. 

“We’ve been working with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) and others on campus who work with students who have limited resources," said Dr. Hill. "For a variety of reasons, we know that students of color and those from diverse walks of life often struggle to gain access to quality mental health services. We want them to know that counseling is not just for the privileged, it is for all. We want to form relationships with students who don’t have easy access to us. We want to understand their concerns and needs and to do better in meeting these needs.”

The purpose of CAPS is to help SUU students achieve educational, career, and personal goals. This is done by addressing the stress and conflicts that may distract students from achieving their full potential. CAPS is staffed with experienced licensed mental health professionals including psychologists, social workers, and mental health counselors who help reduce the interference of everyday stress and also treat more serious conditions. This grant will support the urgent need to address mental and behavioral health challenges that have been intensified and magnified by the global pandemic in Utah’s rural communities.

Andrea Donovan, CAPS mental health counselor, provided the detailed background information needed to secure this grant to SPARC office pre-award research administrator Jenn Stewart. Stewart said she was amazed at the energy Donovan poured into this document, given the heavy demands on Donovan’s time. Donovan’s efforts allowed Stewart to craft well-informed and specific answers to the required submission portal questions. Many of the questions related to SUU's diverse student population.

CAPS staff have given sedulous care, working long and hard to assist students here in T-Bird nation. If you or anyone you know could benefit from Counseling and Psychological Services, don’t hesitate to reach out to the CAPS office at 435-865-8621 or email at

Produced by the SPARC Office
SUU’s SPARC Office provides assistance to faculty, staff, and administrators seeking external funding for their projects and programs, from concept development and planning through implementation and management of funded projects.


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