Furman University graduate David Trone donates to support mental health
Among the many concerns about the side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is a quietly escalating crisis among children and young people: the rising incidence of mental illness.
But a new donation to Furman University allows the school to meet this challenge head-on, helping students build the emotional resilience they need to navigate an increasingly complex world. increase.
On Tuesday, Furman announced that Rep. David Torrone has donated $10 million to the university. Many of them will fund the expansion of mental and emotional health programs on campus.
“In this day and age, it is imperative that we work together to break down the stigma surrounding mental health, ensure tolerance in diverse communities, and provide students with the tools and resources to succeed,” said David. and June Trone Family Foundation.
A 1977 graduate of the same university and a Democrat in Maryland, Trone is also the founder and co-owner of retail chain Total Wine and More. A long-time advocate for mental health initiatives in Congress, he is the founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force and co-chair of the US Commission on Combating the Trafficking of Synthetic Opioids.
Trone’s family has struggled with addiction and mental illness for generations. He said his 2016 run to the presidency was in part prompted by his beloved nephew’s battle with substance abuse. His nephew Ian Tron later died of a fentanyl overdose.
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David Torrone’s donation will allow the university to take mental health services to the “next level,” said Elizabeth Davis, president of Furman University.
“I am excited to help students learn how to be mentally healthy, just as we want them to be physically and academically healthy,” she said. “It creates a really fulfilling student experience.”
Of Trone’s $10 million donation, $8.5 million will support mental health services.
$1 million will be used to renovate the Furman Counseling Center, expand space for group therapy, mindfulness practices and other programs. The renovations are expected to be completed later this year, he said.
The remaining $7.5 million will create the Trone Family Fund for Student Mental Health and Wellbeing and maintain a diverse healthcare provider staff that can adapt as care methods evolve.
The funding will also allow Furman to develop an expanded mental health program. Services include peer mentoring, body image and eating disorder programs, student-athlete screening, alcohol and drug prevention, sexual health, stress management skills, and suicide prevention training.
Davis calls the school’s strategy on mental health “proactive, not reactive,” and describes a “scaffolding approach” that equips students with key skills to maintain their mental and emotional health. .
Key to that strategy, Davis said, is the “most innovative” part of Furman’s initiative: an “integrated approach” to mental and emotional health.
“[Students’]academic performance affects their mental health, and mental health affects their academic performance,” she said. “She works with all departments on campus to figure out how to address different challenges in a cohesive and collaborative way, rather than a one-off, as if one does not affect the other. I need a partner.”
Connie Carson, Furman’s vice president of student life, agreed with this approach.
“We want to communicate openly about the importance of well-being as a foundation for student success in and out of the classroom,” she said.
Davis added that the gift will support professional training for faculty in identifying students at risk, enabling timely intervention and support.
Furman, she observed, is particularly well-equipped to implement this integrated strategy because the university already fosters a culture of collaboration across its campus.
As for when students will realize the benefits of Trone’s gift, “soon,” Davis said. The university has already hired a health and welfare coordinator who assumed a new role earlier this month.
But Trone’s gift is not just dedicated to mental health services. Of his $10 million donation, the remaining $1.5 million will be used to create the Hillel Endowment Fund to foster “a stronger Jewish life for all students and the wider community.” The university then said in a press release.
“We have a strong religious life group, but we really need more resources and rabbinic time for our Jewish students,” Davis said.
Davis pointed out that spirituality is often an integral part of student well-being. In that regard, initiatives funded by Trone donations, the Hillel Endowment Fund and the Trone Family Fund for Student Mental Health, support student health.
According to Davis, Furman’s students will benefit from Thorone’s gift, not just now, but “for generations to come.”