This post is an entry for Part II of the Mentally Healthy resource guide for UP faculty and academic staff working with students who might have mental health concerns.
So you want to know more? Good. Developing an understanding of mental health may help you not only confront and address acute mental health concerns that students (or other people in your life) present, but may also improve your general ability as an educator to be inclusive in your work. The hope is that learning about mental health is not an additional burden, but instead an opportunity for professional development and growth. Below are several practical outlets toward that end.
As a low cost and modest effort way to learn more, you can always access on-line resources relevant to faculty and academic staff roles. This on-line guide book for UP is based partially on a thorough guide for faculty and academic staff produced by Cornell University, which in turn was adapted by the University of California system into a useful handbook. The Cornell guide no longer seems available on-line, but the California update is freely available and worth a read. For links and other more policy oriented information, the Jed Foundation has made extensive efforts to offer resources related to its specific mission of addressing college student mental health concerns.
Probably the best way to educate yourself, however, is through an in-person training. The UP Academic Network for Mental Health is planning to offer at least one such training on campus each academic year – so keep an eye out for those opportunities. But we are also fortunate in Portland to have an on-line hub called gettrainedtohelp.com specifically promoting local mental health trainings provided as the collaborative public health efforts of Multnomah County, Clackamas County, and Washington County. This resources locates a range of standardized and evidence-based training programs offered in the greater Portland area, often for free or at reduced cost.
Examples of the program offerings at gettrainedtohelp.com, which are also programs offered by national and international mental health / suicide prevention efforts, include:
ASIST – Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training. As explained on the Get Trained to Help web-site, “ASIST is a two-day interactive workshop that teaches you how to recognize someone who may be at risk for suicide, how to intervene and promote safety and how to identify appropriate supports to help keep the person safe. Participants will receive an informational workbook and wallet card that summarizes the training as well as a list of community resources.”
Mental Health First Aid. The eight-hour introductory course (for which we have trained trainers on the UP campus) is explained on the Get Trained to Help web-site as “Essential first aid training for anyone age 18 and older who wants to learn how to help a person who may be experiencing a mental health related crisis or problem. This course teaches you to recognize signs and symptoms and provides the steps to take to provide help. Participants will come away with the skills and tools to offer help to others and increase their personal knowledge.”
QPR – Question, Persuade, & Refer. As explained on the Get Trained to Help web-site, “QPR is an educational program that teaches community members how to recognize that a person may be experiencing thoughts of suicide and offer first aid until more experienced help is available. Participants will learn about warning signs, risk factors, common myths about suicide and a three step suicide prevention first aid action plan. Participants will receive a booklet and wallet card with summary information at the end of the training.”
CALM – Counseling on Access to Lethal Means. As explained on the Get Trained to Help web-site, “CALM is intended to assist helpers in offering strategies to help clients at risk of suicide and their families reduce access to lethal means, particularly (but not exclusively) firearms. The workshop will introduce participants to the knowledge and skill components included in the completed 2 hour, interactive workshop. CALM is a means reduction program developed at the Injury Prevention Center at Dartmouth and evaluated by researchers at the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. The CALM workshop includes: a power point presentation regarding why CALM is effective and a model videotaped attempt scenario. CALM is recognized on the SPRC/AFSP Best Practice Registry, Section III. CALM is for anyone who works with people in a clinical/counseling situation such as health and mental health, veteran affairs, schools, peer support, clergy, domestic violence, etc.”
Finally, there are some on-line training programs to help people educate themselves on mental health – though at present none seem directly available to UP faculty and academic staff. There are some examples available at the web-site of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, though these specific programs may be less relevant for faculty and academic staff. If you find other good on-line trainings, let us know and we can keep updating here on the Mentally Healthy portion of the TLC blog!