Equity in Mental Health Funding


Health equity is the ability for everyone to have a fair and just opportunity to thrive and be well. This includes removing systemic barriers as described by the social determinants of health, a set of conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live and age that influence health inequities. Given the direct link between student wellness and academic success, student mental health support serves is integral in reaching the university’s goals of producing more degrees and eliminating gaps. UC is inviting all stakeholders to develop programs and services to meet student’s needs by ensuring each campus provides prevention, early intervention, treatment and recovery services via the Equity in Mental Health Funding Plan.

The University of California has developed an Equity in Mental Health Funding Plan, which supports universal prevention, early intervention, and treatment services for students. The plan uses an allocation methodology that takes into account the base level of support required at each campus, an Equity Index (i.e., accounting for the mental health needs of underrepresented and food- and housing-insecure students) and enrollment levels.

The monies for the Equity in Mental Health Funding initiative were made available via The Budget Act of 2021 (California Assembly Bill 128), which includes $15 million in ongoing funds to address student mental health needs at the University of California.

UCSC Funding Allocation

UCSC has been allocated the following funding amounts for the initiative:

Campus Baseline Prevention and Early Intervention (Tier III)

Collaborative Well-being Programs (Tier II)

Holistic Treatment and Recovery (Tier I)






Tier Definitions:

Tier 1: Holistic Treatment and Recovery

Developing services and supports that meet the needs of students and increase access to care, such as integrating care, enhancing services to support underrepresented students’ needs and cross-disciplinary training and developing clinical and non-clinical wraparound support. Examples of collaborative stakeholders include crisis advocates, recovery specialists, clinicians, community agencies and staff, case managers and disability service programs and staff.

Tier 2: Early Intervention and Collaborative Well-being Programs

Campuses will receive funding based on a weighted equity index, the goal of these funds being to support underrepresented student groups in collaborative work with on- and off-campus partners to ensure unencumbered access to services and supports. Minimum activities should address barriers to student success, including efforts to ensure early identification of struggling students, unencumbered access to care and referral to support and resources. 

Tier 3: Comprehensive Universal Prevention and Wellness Programs

Campuses will receive funding based on an equal distribution to develop universal prevention programming. The goal of these funds is to support healthy campus environments and to promote primary prevention strategies that support healthy behaviors. Minimum activities should include peer navigation and outreach programs (to reduce stigma), peer-to-peer training and support for programs that promote healthy behaviors. In addition, campuses ought to develop programming focused on the transition into and out of college, resilience workshops, social emotional learning and living-learning environment needs.

Process to Allocate Funds

UCOP provided instructions to the Vice Chancellors of Student Affairs at each campus to proceed with initiating a process to develop a funding plan for this funding. To this end former interim Vice Chancellor Baszile convened a committee to support the activities. The role of the Committee is to develop a rubric to review and evaluate funding proposals, initiate a funding call to eligible units, to assess proposals that are submitted and to make recommendations that will be approved by Chancellor Larive and Associate Vice Chancellor Register (Budget, Analysis, and Planning).  

Please note that at the campus level, we offered a funding call to highlight the cross-divisional and highly collaborative spirit of this initiative.

Committee Membership:

Per the directive from UCOP, the advisory committee will be composed of "chief diversity officers, student health directors, counseling and psychological services directors, health promotion directors, recreation directors, housing directors, basic needs managers, care directors, students, faculty and other staff."  The following representatives have been invited to participate:
  • 3 Undergraduate Students - appointed by the SUA Student Committee on Committees
  • 1 Graduate Student - appointed by the Graduate Student Association
  • Division of Student Affairs and Success Representatives (facilitators and support for the committee)
  • Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion staff representative 
  • Student Health and Wellness staff representative
  • Dean of Students staff representative
  • Colleges, Housing and Educational Services staff representative
  • Athletics and Recreation staff representative
  • College Provost representative 
Fiscal Year 2023 - Fiscal Year 2025 Equity in Mental Health Funding Allocations:
The Equity in Mental Health Funding Committee made several recommendations for permanent and one-time allocations.  The committee engaged a data driven evaluation process to make its decisions.  The following funding allocation letters reflect the investments that have been made in campus programs and services that will meet the objectives of the Equity in Mental Health Program.
Please contact larojas@ucsc.edu with any questions.