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Make a Difference Giving to Michigan State University
Make a Difference Giving To Michigan State University

Re-imagining Mental Healthcare for Students

"Providing ongoing and consistent clinical support is of the utmost importance when discussing student success in the classroom and in life."

Barbara and Mark Gerson at home in Palm Springs, California

Re-imagining Mental Healthcare for Students

When Barbara (’84) and Mark Gerson made a gift to help establish the Social Science Scholars Program in the College of Social Science several years ago, they knew that meeting the needs of students would be a priority.

Their most recent $1 million gift, which established the Gerson Family Mental Health Initiative, is doing just that, under the direction and expertise of Dr. Natalie Moser, director of the MSU Psychological Clinic.

The clinic has offered services to members of the MSU and Greater Lansing communities for more than 60 years. Now, students in the Social Science Scholars Program are taking part in a new comprehensive prevention- and intervention-based mental health program that offers state-of-the-art, specialized care.

Students can either self-identify or be referred to the clinic by Social Science Scholars staff. Through one-on-one contact, Dr. Moser manages crises and is available to assess student need and provide guidance toward appropriate intervention. In addition to individual evidence-based psychotherapy, the program offers options such as mental health seminars and an eight-week skills-based workshop.

Down the road, this model could serve as a baseline for the greater MSU student population.

“I am extremely pleased with the early success of this initiative,” says Dr. Moser. “Over the course of the last eight months, we have interacted with and provided assistance to a large percentage of Social Science Scholars, clearly validating the anticipated need for a comprehensive assessment and intervention program for college students. Thanks to the Gersons, our expanded services have undoubtedly helped more students re-engage academically and socially. The benefits of this initiative are clear to me­—students struggling with mental health concerns succeed when accessible and individualized care is available.”

The Gersons couldn’t agree more.

“All students need to know that high-quality mental health services are available to them when they need support and guidance,” Mark Gerson says.

 “Ultimately, we want to see expanded services for all students,” adds Barbara Gerson. “Helping students with crisis management, developing intervention plans when necessary, and providing ongoing and consistent clinical support is of the utmost importance when discussing student success in the classroom and in life. We want to see the Department of Psychology, the College of Social Science, and Michigan State University become national leaders in this area.”

For more information about making a gift to the College of Social Science, contact Senior Director of Development Nick McLaren at mclarenn@msu.edu or call (517) 884-2189.

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