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St. Bonaventure receives $286,000 grant to address mental health and substance abuse

Sep 14, 2023

St. Bonaventure has been awarded a three-year federal grant of more than $286,000 to help the university’s efforts to address mental health and substance abuse issues.

The funds will come from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The initiative is called Bona’s HEALS (Helping, Educating, Advocating, Leading, and Supporting).

“This award will be a tremendous help in our efforts toward suicide prevention and educating our community about substance use and misuse,” said Del Rey Honeycutt, associate dean for Student and Community Wellbeing. “This will also help us enhance our current programs and initiatives related to mental health and overall wellbeing.”

The grant will enable the Division of Student Affairs to hire a health educator and create a peer educator program for St. Bonaventure students who have an interest in raising awareness and educating their peers on these important topics, Honeycutt said.

“Both of these initiatives have been part of my vision since starting here in 2021, so I’m very excited to see it come to fruition,” she said. “Of special interest, we are hoping to reach our marginalized student population and those who often feel a stigma attached to seeking help. We really want to increase their willingness to seek help when needed.”

The main component of the grant is getting staff trained to facilitate QPR (question, persuade, and refer) trainings so they can train the students, other staff and faculty on QPR, she said. QPR is an educational program designed to teach lay and professional “gatekeepers” the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to respond.

Other programs and initiatives will include:

  • regular health education programs for the student body;
  • mental health screenings for assessment and referral;
  • expansive online and print materials for broadcasting information on accessing services for mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention programs;
  • enhancing current supports and resources for students through collaboration with external sources;
  • coordinating services and programs with other university offices to meet student needs;
  • providing activities across the campus to promote wellness and self-help for manageable mental health issues.


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. St. Bonaventure was named the #5 regional university value in the North in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 college rankings edition.



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