Larry H. & Gail Miller Donates $850,000 for Mental Health Resources at SUU

Published: March 18, 2024 | Read Time: 3 minutes

Students making T-bird wings hand signsThe Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation announced a $850,000 challenge grant to significantly increase mental health resources for Southern Utah University students. The matching gift is designed to inspire and encourage additional donations and partnerships to support mental health initiatives for all SUU students, whether on campus or online.

“We appreciate the Miller Family Foundation and their generous gift for the wellbeing of our T-Bird community,” said SUU President Mindy Benson. “There is a crucial need for accessible mental health resources in our region, and we want all of our students to have access to quality mental health care. This challenge grant is a significant step towards our goals, and we invite others to join us in supporting the cause.”

The prevalence of mental health issues among college students has surged to alarming levels, especially since the pandemic. Anxiety, depression, stress, and related challenges are pervasive, hindering academic performance and overall student well-being. SUU has funded several additional full-time licensed mental health counselors to ensure students get the support they need to succeed in the classroom. Additional services, equipment and tools will enable counselors to serve more students and provide a safe environment for the entire SUU community to receive the care they need.

“We are grateful to partner with Southern Utah University to increase access to mental health services for students,” said Gail Miller, chair of the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation. “Everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. Collaborative efforts like this not only help students succeed academically but also allow them to thrive.”

With this grant from the Miller Family Foundation, plus matching gifts, SUU students will have access to psychological and educational evaluations, biofeedback kits, training for suicide prevention, and third-party virtual counseling services.

SUU currently works with TimelyCare, a third-party virtual counseling service vendor that serves colleges and universities all over the United States. TimelyCare provides SUU students, faculty and staff access to 24/7/365 mental virtual health care from anywhere in the United States, with no cost to visit. Licensed counselors offer mental health support via phone or secure video visits.

“We have seen great success during the first year of our partnership with TimelyCare,” said Jared Tippets, VP for Student Affairs. “With additional financial support, we can extend our contract with TimelyCare and continue to offer 24-hour mental health care.”

Since partnering with TimelyCare,1,623 students, faculty and staff have registered for the service. 1,146 consultations and 982 counseling sessions have been held. The wait time to see an SUU counseling professional has also decreased from weeks to only a few days because of the virtual assistance the service provides.

“We hope to inspire the community to join us in this important endeavor. Together, we can make a significant difference in the mental well-being of SUU’s students,” said Benson.

Donors and organizations interested in participating in this matching grant program are encouraged to visit our website for more information and to make a contribution. The deadline for meeting the challenge grant is December 31, 2024.

About SUU

Southern Utah University is a caring campus community where students come to explore their interests and prepare for meaningful careers and life experiences. Offering more than 150 undergraduate programs, 32 graduate and certificate programs, as well as a professional doctorate degree across seven academic colleges, SUU proudly offers world-class, project-based learning opportunities where students gain professional experience before entering the job market.

About the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation

The Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation was established in 2007 to continue the philanthropic spirit exemplified by Larry and Gail Miller for future generations. The Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation supports programs that enrich lives and communities in the areas of health and medicine, shelter and food security, education and skill development, jobs and economic self-reliance, and cultural and spiritual enrichment.

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Nikki Koontz