LAS VEGAS – Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Chancellor Melody Rose has established the COVID-19 Mental Health Task Force, charged with responding to mental health needs that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Emotional and mental health is often an overlooked condition and under-resourced area that impacts every aspect of our lives, and the ability of students and employees to learn, work, and live within the NSHE community,” Chancellor Melody Rose said. “With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, these pre-existing concerns have been exacerbated.”
Chancellor Rose added that during the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented amount of uncertainty about the present and future, combined with frequent isolation, disjointed methods of communication and learning, heavy workloads, fear of a family member or loved one becoming ill, and financial hardship have increased the level of stress, anxiety, and grief felt by students, faculty, and staff within NSHE. The ongoing racial injustices witnessed in our communities can also be a chronic source of distress, and one that must be confronted as NSHE seeks to support each member of Nevada’s public higher education community.
“As a statewide system, we must be proactive in recognizing that we have been indelibly changed by this experience,” Chancellor Rose said. “We must recognize that the pandemic has had a deleterious impact on the mental health of many of our students, faculty, and staff.”
The Mental Health Taskforce, which is expected to convene in early February and regularly throughout 2021, will be charged with producing recommendations to address these challenges across NSHE’s eight institutions and system.
In coordination with the Taskforce, Chancellor Rose will also conduct a personal listening tour among NSHE’s campus communities to learn first-hand about this often-silent crisis.
The Taskforce is made up of an internal working group representing diverse backgrounds of life experience, education, and training from across Nevada’s public higher education system.
The Task Force is charged with making recommendations to the Chancellor on how NSHE can better:
- Address the emotional and mental health needs of NSHE students, faculty, and staff for the short-term emergency issues we are facing for the Spring/Summer 2021 Semesters brought on by COVID-19;
- Implement long-term changes necessary to lead in these areas, so that emotional and mental health conversations become an integral part of Nevada’s higher education culture and strategic resource allocation;
- Identify the resources currently within NSHE, as well as those available through local, county, state, federal, and nonprofit entities, that can be scaled statewide to address these needs more effectively;
- Develop a strategic plan on how to communicate information and outreach to NSHE students and faculty on how to get assistance from these resources; and
- Make recommendations on how to improve mental health awareness, services, and resources provided to NSHE students, staff and faculty.
NSHE Chief General Counsel Joe Reynolds will Chair the Task Force, provide updates on progress, and report on Task Force recommendations as they are developed.
The Nevada System of Higher Education, comprised of two doctoral-granting universities, a state college, four comprehensive community colleges and one environmental research institute, serves the educational and job training needs of Nevada. NSHE provides educational opportunities to more than 100,000 students and is governed by the Board of Regents.