Student holding sign saying "there is bravery in being vulnerable"
Thursday, August 30, 2018

Ohlone College Receives $250,000 State Grant to Promote Student Mental Health

Fremont, Calif., August 30, 2018—The California Community College Chancellor’s Office has awarded the Ohlone College Student Health Center a $250,000 grant to support programs designed to serve the mental health needs of the College community. The funds will be dispersed annually over a two-year period in $125,000 increments from 2018-2020.

“Ohlone College is excited to continue our work in mental health outreach and stigma reduction,” says the Director of the Student Health Center, Catherine Hayes, BSN, FNP, NP. “This grant will allow us to better respond to the mental health needs of our student population with meaningful and sustainable programs.”

Funded by the Student Services and Special Programs Division of the California Community Colleges Student Mental Health Services Program, the grant will support the STEP Up Ohlone program. The STEP Up Ohlone program’s mission is to strengthen the college’s infrastructure to create a safe space where students feel supported and socially connected and to promote mental health as a key element in academic success.

“We’re motivated to serve our students each and every day—their emotional and mental health is a priority in helping them thrive here at Ohlone,” says Hayes.

The money from this grant will help to create a new mental health internship program, support a cohort of six Student Wellness Ambassadors, and increase staff and faculty training on suicide prevention and crisis intervention. The funds will also aid in hiring a part-time mental health counselor and will go toward paying for a wide range of programs that serve to educate students about the importance of seeking help for issues related to their mental health needs.

In 2012, the Student Health Center received funding for the creation of the STEP Up Ohlone program from the Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services for $439,000 for two years. Then, in 2014, the College was awarded a $306,000 grant funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The money from these two sources went towards creating the STEP Up program and focused heavily on student engagement, campus engagement, advancing student mental health through improved screening efforts, data collection efforts, creation of a crisis intervention guide, and many other educational programs.

Since its inception, the STEP Up Ohlone program has served the College through a wide variety of services and activities that promote mental health and wellness. For a full description of programs and services available visit