Mantra Health Supports Provider Diversity in College Mental Health with Annual Scholarship

Posted: December 15, 2022

Mantra Health In the News

NEW YORK, December 15, 2022 – Mantra Health, the preeminent digital mental health provider for young adults, announced today the official launch of its annual Provider Diversity Scholarship. Created for graduate and postdoctoral students from historically marginalized and underrepresented communities who are actively pursuing a degree related to mental health, this scholarship aims to address the lack of diversity and representation among mental health professionals in higher education.

“It is critical that the population of providers reflect the demographics of young adults on campus today,” said Ed Gaussen, Co-Founder and CEO of Mantra Health. “We must reduce barriers for students of color, LGBTQ+ students, and those whose backgrounds and identities are unrepresented in the field. We hope this scholarship will help support aspiring providers and contribute to a more diversified pool of mental health providers.”

Nearly half of today's college students are students of color and approximately one in five Americans aged 19 to 25 identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Despite this, the majority of college counseling providers are still white and cisgendered female, data that was similarly reflected in Mantra Health’s fall 2022 College Counseling Center Diversity Survey. The AUCCCD Annual Survey also found that 70% college counseling center directors identify as cisgender females, 59% are white, and less than one in ten have a disability. This lack of representation, in addition to cultural stigma, discrimination, language barriers, and other factors, can prevent students of diverse backgrounds, including international students and first-generation students, from accessing and utilizing mental health services.

“Inclusion is key when it comes to breaking mental health barriers,” said Helen Macharia, APRN, FNP-C, PMHNP-BC, a Mantra Health provider. “Diversity ensures patients have access to clinicians and providers they can identify with and relate to, one way or another.”

Alecia Sundsmo, PsyD, Executive Director of Therapy at Mantra Health, says, “The world and the people we serve are unique. Our goal is to inspire future mental health providers to consider a career in counseling services, and bring their diverse backgrounds, identities, and experiences to the field. Students want to see themselves reflected in the provider pool and this scholarship program is helping make that possible.”

Mantra Health awarded Merari Flores Saldana, MSW, RCSWI, from Florida State University its Provider Diversity Scholarship in 2021, who is now a therapist at Rogers Behavioral Health. Flores Saldana said, “The continuation of this scholarship will enable more students to pursue a career in a field that’s difficult to access for a person of color. I’m excited to see greater diversification in the fields of social work, therapy, and medicine.” 

Those eligible for the scholarships include graduate and postdoctoral students of color (e.g., Black, Hispanic and Latinx, Native American, Asian, and Pacific Islander), students who identify as LGBTQ+, or other marginalized or underrepresented students who are actively pursuing a degree related to mental health and are completing fieldwork in a college or university counseling center in the U.S.

The application period closes on March 15, 2023. Three scholarships will be awarded for $3,000 each, totaling $9,000, and winners will be announced in May 2023. Eligible students can apply here

If you wish to learn more about the state of diversity in college counseling, you can download our Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in College Counseling resource

About Mantra Health

Mantra Health is an award-winning digital mental health clinic on a mission to improve access to evidence-based mental healthcare for young adults. Through augmenting high-quality clinical services with software and design, we aim to improve the mental health of over 40 million young adults through partnerships with higher education institutions and health insurance plans. Mantra Health was named a Mental & Behavioral Health Rising Star at the 2022 UCSF Health Hub Digital Health Awards. The Mantra program has been deployed across 110 campuses with over 800,000 students, including at Penn State University, MIT, Cornell University, and Miami Dade College.