Irsay family donates $3M for IU mental health institute

December 11, 2021 GMT

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — The Irsay family is donating $3 million to Indiana University for a new research institute on the Bloomington campus that will focus on addressing the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

The gift from the Jim Irsay family, which owns the Indianapolis Colts, was announced this past week. The new Irsay Family Research Institute will be located in Morrison Hall, which the IU trustees recently approved plans to renovate for the new institute.

IU sociology professor Bernice Pescosolido, who will lead the new institute, said there is a “dire need” for more mental health care workers and an important part of the institute’s work will be to increase the number of graduates trained in mental health fields.

The institute will also work to raise awareness, support research and inform mental health policymaking, The Herald-Times reported.

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Members of the Irsay family said they were planning for the mental health institute before the coronavirus pandemic elevated concerns about preexisting mental health issues.

“I think that COVID really enabled some people to connect with this topic in a new way, because they might have been experiencing a form of mental health (illness) for the very first time,” said Kalen Jackson, the Colts’ vice chair and one of the team’s owners.