WVU Chi Omega sorority members Mikayla Meadows, Hattie Hall, Claire Gieseman, Mackenzie Zimmerman, Ellie Jacquet, Alexa Greco, Emily Coram and Maggie Peasak participated in a spring fundraiser to support the Healthy Minds University program. (Photo courtesy of Olivia Suazo.)
Philanthropic support is boosting student access to Healthy Minds University, a collaborative program that provided long-term mental health services to nearly 1,000 West Virginia University students in its first year.
A $30,000 gift from the Gruver family established a namesake fund to ensure students can take advantage of the program, which began in fall 2021. Operated by WVU Medicine and the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, Healthy Minds University offers long-term therapy and/or medical management services for students in partnership with WVU’s Carruth Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, which provides short-term therapy and other mental health services.
Dr. Kari-Beth Law, vice chair of clinical services for the Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry at the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, helped create and grow Healthy Minds University. She said the program has served 973 students in need through over 3,700 visits since its launch.
“Prioritization of mental health awareness with increased access to a continuum of resources is a cornerstone of the Healthy Minds University and Carruth Center initiatives,” Law, also an associate professor for adult, child and adolescent, and forensic psychiatry within the School of Medicine, said. “With the prevalence of mental health disorders increasing in collegiate adults nationwide, we recognize the value of providing high quality, evidence-based treatment for our students.”
WVU’s Theta chapter of Chi Omega recently contributed additional funds to bolster the Gruver Family Evergreen Fund. Olivia Suazo, a WVU junior who serves as Chi Omega’s community service director, said sorority members were motivated to support student mental health services following an overdose death and suicide attempts by friends and loved ones.
Chi Omega partnered with WVU’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity for a fundraiser that offered attendees a chance to throw whipped cream pie at members of both organizations.
“I hope that these funds bring awareness to the causes we want to address and also bring awareness to Healthy Minds University, since it is new and not a lot of people know about it,” Suazo said. “We want more available services, training and things like that for students on campus. If someone is put in a situation where a friend is overdosing, we want them to be able to act quickly and know exactly what to do, and we also want to be a friend to someone who is contemplating [taking] their life. We want people to be more educated and have a sense of awareness when it comes to these topics.”
Dave Gruver is a strong supporter of WVU. A native of Hagerstown, Maryland, Gruver often spent time with his grandparents in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia when he was growing up. He now splits time between New York City and Monroe County, West Virginia.
“I am beyond thankful for Chi Omega’s gift supporting the Evergreen Fund,” Gruver said. “Students supporting the importance of mental wellness is exciting and a clear signal they believe a meaningful college experience includes making mental wellness a top priority. Our family applauds WVU and Healthy Minds University in making long-term mental health care accessible and available for students."
The Gruver family’s gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University. To make a gift in support of Healthy Minds University, visit secure.give.wvu.edu and select the Gruver Family Evergreen Fund (2W1559) as the designation for your gift.