MCLA Receives $306,000 Grant to Fund Mental-health Support

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) announced it has received the Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) Suicide Prevention Grant for $306,000 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Over the next three years, this funding will launch the MCLA Cares Project, an initiative to build campus-wide infrastructure to support student mental health.

The MCLA Cares Project will utilize a multi-pronged approach to address mental-health support deficits across campus. This project will engage a health promotion coordinator, a new position designed to plan and implement the grant’s activities as well as produce additional mental-health and wellness programming. Grant funds will contribute significantly to training the student-facing faculty and staff in suicide awareness and prevention.

The MCLA Cares Project was developed in accordance with MCLA’s mission to provide an accessible liberal-arts education to students traditionally underrepresented in higher education, such as first-generation students, students of color, and LGBTQIA+ students. The health promotion coordinator will collaborate with these groups to identify their specific needs and challenges in order to create responsive programming.

“I am thrilled that MCLA received the GLS suicide prevention grant from SAMHSA,” said Ashleigh Hala, MCLA’s associate dean for Counseling and Holistic Wellness. “This enables us to expand critical programs related to our students’ mental health and emotional well-being, including supporting students at high risk for suicide. Through this grant, we will change culture, creating a more caring, compassionate, and healthy community.”