The Montana University System Gets Additional Mental Health Support

The Montana University System (MUS) has launched a plan to expand access to mental health services and supports for students and employees on all sixteen MUS campuses including the state’s three community colleges. 

OCHE worked closely with the MUS Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Task Force to make these supports available in response to the increase in mental health and wellness issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Bullock allocated CARES Act funds to this effort as a way to mitigate public health risks while still making mental health services available to students and supporting students and campus communities in dealing with the mental health impacts of social isolation and increased stress. 

Betsy Asserson, PhD, MSU’s Director of Counseling and Psychological Services and leader on the MUS Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Task Force, says of the expanded services, “Montana college students are dealing with multiple stressors and concerns related to the Covid pandemic and beyond. These new services will help all Montana University System students access self-help tools and receive training on how to support someone in mental health distress.”

The Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education has partnered with three organizations to provide expanded services in three important areas: education around mental health, increasing access to licensed providers and community services, and personalized, evidence-based information and strategies. The MUS has partnered with Thriving Campus, a HIPAA-compliant web referral platform that connects students and employees to counseling services and community mental health and wellness providers. Students and employees will also have access to an evidence-based online mental health literacy and suicide prevention training offered through Kognito. MUS students and employees will also have access to an online application, You@College, which provides personalized mental health and wellness education, information, and strategies. 

Though these efforts are in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the expanded services are in line with the priorities set forth by the MUS Suicide Prevention & Mental Health Task Force set of recommendations to support mental health education and to continue to increase access to mental health clinical services. 

More information about the Montana University System Suicide Prevention & Mental Health Task Force can be found at