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PRISMH: The President's Initiative for Student Mental Health

The need to address and support student mental health is critically important in a time when mental health conditions among college students are at alarming levels and on the rise.

President’s vision statement

The President’s Initiative for Student Mental Health (PRISMH), is a systemwide effort to bring together the services, programs, policies, and academic practices that showcase the University as a leader — not only in Minnesota, but in the nation — in understanding the ecosystem of mental health by using a public health approach grounded in data, practice, and research. 

PRISMH will centralize work already happening across the University and identify new areas of inquiry, research, and partnership. It will shine a light on the importance of mental health care in the broadest sense, work to de-stigmatize mental illness, and meet students where they are.

Overview of work/charge

There will be several functional and topical focus areas for PRISMH over the next 1-3 years. Each will have specific objectives and results that will drive the work. The PRISMH leadership will make recommendations, determine milestones, and report progress regularly.

The focus areas will include:

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Prevention/Upstream Efforts

Explore student training and prevention efforts happening across the system and make recommendations about the creation of an educational module. Additionally, explore and make a recommendation about K-12 partnerships to support mental health for elementary and secondary students.


Recommend structure, scope, and criteria to support student mental health research and curriculum.

Allyship and Early Detection

Assess opportunities for training faculty, staff, and students and make these opportunities more accessible systemwide. Partner with the Faculty Consultative Committee to understand classroom opportunities, such as course syllabi with a mental health-centered approach.

Services and Treatment

Make recommendations about how to mitigate service gaps and provide quality services that are culturally sensitive, technologically innovative,  and accessible. Explore non-clinical opportunities to triage and support students.


Develop and publish a comprehensive, systemwide student mental health campaign, provide updates to the University community, and serve as a liaison between University of Minnesota and community and non-profit partners.

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Top of Mind: Promoting Mental Health at the University of Minnesota

Top of Mind is a podcast series highlighting the issue of mental health at the University of Minnesota. Interviews with students, staff, and faculty address trends in student mental health and the programs and services offered to students.

Coping with the mental health crisis

The feature story Coping with the mental health crisis recaps the extraordinary challenges faced by our students this year, highlights our ongoing work through the President's Initiative for Student Mental Health (PRISMH), and identifies some of the many mental health resources available for students and others in our community.

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College Student Mental Health: National Trends, COVID-19 Impacts, and Opportunities for Action

View Recording


MN State Summit - October 22, 2020.

In partnership with Minnesota State, the University of Minnesota hosted a statewide Mental Health Summit for higher education leaders and partners. The program schedule and speakers represented the depth and breadth of expertise across the state and were thoughtfully selected to share knowledge, foster discussion, and align priorities to support student mental health. View the robust conversation, the keynote address from Sara Abelson, MPH, and check out the resources offered by Carleton College, St. Cloud State University, University of Minnesota Duluth, and University of Minnesota Morris:

College Student Mental Health: National Trends COVID-19 Impacts, and Opportunities for Action 

College Student Mental Health: National Trends COVID-19 Impacts, and Opportunities for Action

Fostering student wellbeing and resilience: Practice, programs, and initiatives

Mental Health Panel Discussion - September 18, 2019

During President Gabel's inauguration week activities, Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) and the University of Minnesota co-presented a panel on  "Student Mental Health from the Lens of Prevention and Resilience." The panel featured experts and U of M faculty and students and was moderated by Stephanie Curtis, Senior Producer of The Thread, MPR.


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