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More mental health resources now available for students

Nigel Cares provides a free 24/7/365 mental health support line and resource for UNG students.

The University of North Georgia (UNG) will increase its mental health support services for students beginning this semester.

This week, UNG launched Nigel Cares to complement the work of UNG's Student Counseling Services.  All UNG students will have access to the following:

  • A 24/7/365 mental health support line for in-the-moment support and linkages to next steps, regardless of time of day or their location.
  • Up to five sessions of telehealth or in-person treatment sessions per issue provided at no cost by a network of licensed mental health clinicians.
  • Virtual psychiatric clinics to offer assessment and medication management.
  • Personal student navigators to assist with referral coordination and support.
  • An online training and education tool designed exclusively for students.
  • The Nigel Cares website, app and online wellness magazine with self-help tools and resources.
  • Comprehensive campus programming and improved coordination of services.

This effort is part of the larger University System of Georgia (USG) Mental Health Initiative backed by $11.5 million in Governor's Emergency Education Relief funding for the system's 26 institutions.

Dr. Simon Cordery, director of Student Counseling at UNG, said the support comes at a crucial time as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to stress students.

"We have seen students' remarkable resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are taking these steps to enhance our mental health services and support their continued success," Cordery said.  

Cordery is eager to see how these connections benefit UNG students.

"We can't be everywhere all the time, and this is a way to expand our services," Cordery said. "We're giving students different ways to reach out. These partnerships are just another way we can reach students who are not walking into the Student Counseling center."

The access to telephone or video-based psychiatric care will be a major benefit to students.

These services are in addition to those already offered by Student Counseling, which include individual and group therapy and counseling, suicide prevention and education, problem solving, and time management skills building.

In recognition of the unique needs of each school, the USG will also award mini-grants to support mental health and wellness efforts. These funds can be used to establish new technology resources, increase campus programming or enhance communications.

Additional funds will be set aside to create a USG Mental Health Consortium, which will develop a long-term service model for the USG's 26 institutions.

"Mental health challenges are on the rise on campuses across the country, including here in our state," USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley said. "The university system and its institutions have a responsibility to address this and lessen how these challenges impact students. We are grateful to Governor Kemp and appreciate his support on this critical issue."

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