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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has received a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to continue its work supporting students through services designed to improve their mental health and quality of life. The programs will offer students education and services targeted at mental health issues, such as substance abuse or depression.


The three-year grant will continue the work begun in 2005, when UW Oshkosh received a grant from SAMHSA to develop a Comprehensive Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Program. Since then, more than 750 faculty, staff and students have attended gatekeeper trainings.


“The campus community always is working to evaluate and enhance the safety measures already in place,” said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Petra Roter. “Thanks to SAMHSA’s support, UW Oshkosh has become a leader in Wisconsin for its coordination of student-support resources.”


The University has played a leadership role in developing strategies to address student mental health issues. In 2006, UW Oshkosh formed the Student At Risk Response Team (SARRT) to coordinate student support resources to assist distressed students to maintain satisfactory academic progress and to promote students’ health and well-being. The SARRT program was highlighted as a best practice by the Governor’s Task Force on Campus Safety.


The new grant will allow University initiatives to continue and expand to include even stronger alcohol and drug abuse prevention efforts.


Other grant-funded developments include:

  • Support an awareness campaign to increase UW Oshkosh’s identity as a caring, compassionate and engaged community.
  • Increase campus community’s awareness and understanding of how to address bias and hate incidents.
  • Provide the Counseling Center and Student Affairs Offices with in-depth clinical training to enhance suicide assessment and response.
  • Support staff administrative time to develop a comprehensive approach to addressing binge drinking, wellness initiatives and communication with area hospitals.

“SAMHSA’s contributions have transformed the University’s approach to students experiencing mental and behavioral health problems,” said Shelly Rutz, University Counseling Center counselor and grant coordinator. “The new grant will allow the University to expand on its existing services, to develop and implement the Center for Balance wellness program and to strengthen alcohol abuse prevention.”

For more about SARRT, visit