Mental Health First Aid in the College Setting St. Louis Community College Innovation of the Year STLCC-FV Counselors Troy Hansen, MA, LPC, NCC Emily Lasek, MA, LPC, NCC The Problem: Increasing Mental Health Issues on College Campuses • In 2004, The Chronicle Of Higher Education reported on the Mental Health Crisis and what Colleges must do. • A significant number of colleges and universities began eliminating mental health services. • “Not having basic services increases your risk in our litigious society.” (Kadison, 2004) • Recent mental health crises have caused colleges to reevaluate the need for increasing mental health services. American Psychological Association (APA) reported in 2011… • In the 2010 National Survey of Counseling Center Directors, respondents reported that 44 percent of their clients had severe psychological problems, a sharp increase from 16 percent in 2000. • While depression and anxiety continually rank high as the most common mental disorders, there has been increases in clients with eating disorders (24.3%), self-injury issues (39.4%), and alcohol abuse (45.7%). • 91 percent of counseling center directors reported that the recent trend toward greater numbers of students with severe psychological problems continues to be true on their campuses. Research shows… • “Without the proper psychological services, students with emotional and behavioral problems have the potential to affect many other people on campus, including roommates, classmates, faculty, and staff with disruptive and even dangerous behavior.” • “When students receive help for their psychological problems, counseling can have a positive impact on academic success, retention, and personal well-being.” • “The most recent survey of college counseling center directors found that 59 percent of clients indicated that counseling had helped them remain in school and 60 percent stated that counseling helped improve their academic performance.” http://www.apa.org/about/gr/education/news/2011/college-campuses.aspx (Retrieved March 20, 2012) WHY STLCC and MHFA? • Florissant Valley Counseling Department began looking for a way to educate faculty and staff on mental health issues. • In the summer of 2009, Mental Health First Aid was investigated. At the time, the curriculum was principally arranged for the public. • Florissant Valley Counseling Department used grant funds from the Missouri Department of Transformation to get 9 trainers throughout the district. 5 counselors have been trained at FV. • The MHFA workshop trained over 75 STLCC faculty and staff before FV Counseling faculty created PRD 528. Another 125 individuals have completed the training in the 1 credit hour format. Why Mental Health First Aid? Mental health issues affect all of society in some way, shape, or form Through Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) anyone can acquire the basic knowledge and skills to identify and respond to an individual in distress HISTORY of MHFA In 2001, Betty Kitchener and Tony Jorm developed the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Program at the Centre for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University. MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID The concept of first aid by the public for physical health crises is familiar to most of us. This makes it relatively easy to extend this approach to early intervention by members of the public for mental disorders and crises. MHFA-USA • National Council for Behavioral Healthcare • Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene • Missouri Department of Mental Health Working in conjunction with SAMHSA for national unity WHAT IS MHFA? 12-hour course Participants learn how to: • Give first aid in a mental health crisis and/or early stages of mental illness; • Identify early stages of mental health problems; • Observe signs and symptoms of the most common mental health problems; • Know where and when to get help; and • Understand what types of help have been effective. MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID CONTENT MHFA covers the symptoms and risk factors in common mental health issues and associated mental health crises situations Understanding Mental Health Problems Mental Health Topics Depression Suicide Non-suicidal self-injury Anxiety Psychosis Schizophrenia Bipolar Disorder Eating Disorders Substance Use Disorders For each topic, we cover What is…? Other related disorders Causes? The importance of early intervention The MHFA Action Plan for each mental health issue Resources MHFA ACTION PLAN A. Assess Risk of Suicide or Harm L. Listen Nonjudgmentally G. Give Reassurance and Information E. Encourage Person to Get Appropriate Professional Help E. Encourage Self-help Strategies MHFA EVALUATION RESULTS ◘ improved recognition of mental disorders ◘ changed beliefs about treatment - more like those of health professionals ◘ decreased social distance from people with mental disorders ◘ increased confidence in providing help ◘ an increase in the amount of help provided to others. WHY MAKE IT A CLASS? • Florissant Valley Counseling Department saw the value in offering it to students, especially students going into helping professions. • Allowing students to take it as an elective in their program allowed them to receive a certification to put on their resume. • Making it a class also allowed people from outside the college to take the course. It has increased participation and allowed STLCC to receive additional publicity. The Response… • FV Counseling has received many letters of support for Mental Health First Aid from employees and students who participated in the program. Many report already using the information. • Thanks to the Florissant Valley Counseling Department, St. Louis Community College has been identified as a major innovator in the effort to raise awareness of mental illness. Mentions in the Media • STLTODAY – http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/health-medfit/fitness/article_51a940cf-3608-5b1e-8f804e6b962a1e28.html • New York Times Article – http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/24/education/24wineri p.html?pagewanted=2&_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss Efficiency: The 1 credit hour course (12.5 hours) is an effective way of raising awareness, decreasing stigma and empowering individuals in dealing with mental health issues. Multiple sections of the course have been offered each semester. The course has been completed by Probation & Parole employees, DYS/Children’s Division employees, Staff of Normandy School District, BJC Health Care workers as well as staff, faculty and students of STLCC. Cost Effectiveness: The initial training of the Counselors was supplemented by a grant through the Missouri Department of Transformation. Individuals who work for the college receive the training at no cost. Students and community members pay and receive 1 college credit to take the course. By opening it up, there has been a tangible benefit for the college both by positive publicity and by generating credit hours. Replication: The course can be taught by any qualified instructor who has undergone the MHFA training. Although FV developed the course, FP has also offered it for the past 2 semesters. A total of 9 trainers are available throughout the district. Creativity: The FV Counseling Department was able to take a professional development opportunity and turn it into a program which benefits the campus, district and community. We have received letters of support from participants. It is evident by these letters that the skills learned have been applied both to everyday life and work scenarios. Timeliness: Mental illness continues to escalate as a major concern for colleges and universities throughout the nation. Thanks to the Florissant Valley Counseling Department, St. Louis Community College has been identified as a major innovator in the effort to raise awareness of mental illness. It has also received recognition as being proactive in these issues. THANK YOU from St. Louis Community College!