Responding to Students of Concern

Best Practices for Behavioral Intervention Teams

Topics: Student Affairs, Student Health and Wellness, Mental Health and Counseling, Student Health Centers, Alcohol and Drug Use, Student Experience, Special Populations, Academic Support Programs

Practice #2: Role-Based Differentiated Training

Articulating a Campus-Wide Approach to Mental Health

Carleton University’s Mental Health Framework Sets Training Goals

As a first priority, the Forum recommends that BITs develop training presentations, quick reference materials, and just-in-time reminders for the entire campus. After that foundation has been established, there are certain areas, roles, and departments where more specialized training is necessary. The Forum’s analysis reveals that few BITs currently provide tailored or differentiated training.

One institution that has demonstrated an impressive commitment to student mental health is Carleton University in Canada. During the Fall 2008 semester, Carleton formed an advisory committee that researched college student mental health needs and consulted with outside experts. The committee’s work culminated in the creation of a comprehensive framework that includes an institutional philosophy on student mental health services, policies governing mental health services, and an overview of mental health needs on campus.

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A Multi-Level Approach

Carleton Tailors Training for Audiences Based on Roles and Needs

Carleton University also developed a multilevel training curriculum as part of the student mental health framework. Designed to be rolled out across several years, each level has a suggested audience, objectives, and dedicated content. Each level builds upon the previous one, providing greater detail and more targeted skill building for responding to students of concern.

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Shifting the Campus Culture

Multi-Level Training Yields Quick Wins at Carleton

Since the framework’s launch, more than 4,900 faculty, staff , and students have completed the level two training. The initiative has been a resounding success with positive feedback from campus stakeholders as well as increased awareness about the resources available for distressed students.

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The Campaign Continues at Carleton University

Next Steps in the Education and Training Process

To address faculty and staff turnover and ensure there are no training gaps, Carleton’s student mental health advisory committee creates a new communication plan each year to set goals for training and outreach. Key elements outlined in the plan include outreach material distribution, costs, and target audiences for training presentations.

Finally, a critical element in the framework’s launch and implementation at Carleton has been the dedicated clinical psychologist who works in close collaboration with the Director of Health and counseling. The dedicated clinical psychologist receives a budget and ensures the initiative keeps moving forward. As part of her role, she conducts training presentations, leads data collection and assessment, and works with senior leaders to engage the campus community.

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Practice #1: Campus-Wide Basic Training

Branding One-Stop Referrals