CNU Awarded Mental health Grant

benefits the $200,000 grant is providing and SGA’s Meet the Counselors Day


The ongoing mental health issues on college campuses is not new information, but some exciting changes are coming to Christopher Newport University. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) has partnered with the Virginia HealthCare Foundation (VHCF) in order to provide additional mental health services to select colleges and universities in Virginia. 

This Mental Health Services Grant awards its winners $200,000 over a period of two years to increase mental health support for the students. CNU’s Executive Director of Health and Counseling Services, Bill Ritchey, said in an email to The Captain’s Log, “They are also working to increase ‘the pipeline’ for LCSW (licensed clinical social workers) and LPC (licensed professional counselor) providers who can dedicate careers to work in university counseling centers in support of student service provision.” 

Ritchey also mentioned that this was a competitive grant open to colleges and universities in Virginia and CNU was “eager to be considered, and thankfully were accepted as a grant recipient.”

This grant will benefit the students of CNU in that the Office of Counseling Services (OCS) will be able to provide longer hours. There is also expected to be weekend hours provided once the office is fully staffed. “Going forward, we expect that students who couldn’t fit it into their schedule previously, now won’t have that barrier to on-campus mental health services,” Ritchey said.

With this grant, the OCS will be able to service over 1,000 students every year. Ritchey said, “That’s a significant number of students, and very important to student wellness, persistence, personal and overall success.”

Some may have questions about why CNU was one of only six universities in the state chosen for this grant, but Ritchey has an explanation. “We are aware that this was a competitive process. CNU has been actively training Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) providers for a number of years. That has included LPC practicum and internship students. Thus, we have had a robust program with a strong reputation for training LPC graduate students. However, this grant allowed us to now offer a residency for LPC providers due to being able to fund the residency.”

Another reason that CNU was chosen for this grant is because the Hampton Roads area lacks a sufficient number of mental health providers. This grant will help combat the mental health needs of students. 

The Student Government Association is holding a ‘Meet the Counselors’ event on Thursday, Jan. 26 from 12:15-1:30 PM in Forbes 2010E. SGA’s VP of Marketing and Communication, Mckenzie Hurley said, “We want to encourage the student body to attend as this is a great opportunity to get to know them and the services!!”

To stay up to date on the change of hours in the OCS as well as other information, visit