The Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office at Longwood has been awarded a grant totaling $135,625 through the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) in partnership with the Virginia Health Care Foundation (VHCF). Longwood is one of only six universities in the Commonwealth to receive this grant.

The Higher Education Mental Health Workforce Pilot grant covers the salary and benefits of a future Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) candidate for two years. Longwood University will host the candidate onsite for the entirety of the two-year period to assist and gain clinical experience within CAPS.

According to Dr. Maureen Walls-McKay, the Dean of Wellness and Director of CAPS, the grant has two purposes–to further support college students through mental health counseling, and to ensure that master’s level pre-licensees can focus on acquiring hours needed for licensure.

This is the latest example of the CAPS team’s commitment to supporting the needs of Longwood students.

Vice President for Student Affairs Cameron Patterson Tweet This

“It’s a logical next step for CAPS to have this resident in counseling because we intentionally invest in our counselors-in-training and give them a great experience here,” Walls-McKay stated. “This added position will allow the senior clinicians to get out on campus more, to have increased visibility, to do additional preventive work with the campus community and to further cultivate a culture of well-being here at Longwood,”

Walls-McKay added that she is excited to be part of helping a newly-graduated master’s level professional gain supervised hours needed for licensure. She hopes that the professional hired under this grant will join the CAPS team and be in place for the spring semester starting in January.

Vice President for Student Affairs Cameron Patterson noted that the award from SCHEV dovetails with Longwood’s three-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention program that supports having a trauma specialist on staff, as well as key student resources like the WellTrack app.

“This is the latest example of the CAPS team’s commitment to supporting the needs of Longwood students,” Patterson said. “It’s hard work to go after external funding, but it provides such huge benefits for our students.”

Established in 1956, the State Council of Higher Education’s mission is “to advocate and promote the development and operation of an educationally and economically sound, vigorous, progressive, and coordinated system of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia.” The organization achieves this through policy recommendations to state government, including the governor and the General Assembly, which led to the established grant of $500,000 annually for mental health services in higher education.

“The General Assembly’s creation of the Higher Education Mental Health Workforce Pilot is an important and creative approach to resolving the shortage of licensed mental-health therapists and to meeting the surge of mental health struggles of college students,” said VHCF Director Debbie Oswalt.

“This pilot represents another example of innovation in the Commonwealth to address complex and urgent problems,” added SCHEV Director Peter Blake.

Longwood’s Office of Research, Grants and Sponsored Projects (ORGSP) provides support to university faculty and staff interested in obtaining external funding for their research, scholarly and creative activities. If you would like more information about ORGSP, please call 434-395-2987 or email Dr. Alix Fink ( or Jim Wiecking (

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