University Business September 2017 - 15

STUDENT AFFAIRS

Beyond awareness: Teaching how to
help the mentally distressed
Discourse around mental health may be
increasing, but awareness doesn't always
lend itself to action. New research shows
that while faculty and students may
recognize signs of psychological distress in
others on campus, many feel unprepared
to approach and help those in need.
There has been a visible push to
improve student well-being on campus-manifesting in yoga classes,
destress activities and therapy animals,
for example-but this is not the same as
addressing mental disorders, says Kelly
Davis, manager of peer advocacy, supports
and services at Mental Health America,
a nonprofit dedicated to mental health
awareness. "Schools invested a lot of
money in mental health awareness, but
not resources," she says. Nearly one-third
of students are dealing with mental health
issues, from panic and anxiety disorders to
depression, at any given time, according to
a University of Michigan study.
There are a range of roadblocks for
those seeking mental health support from
their higher ed institutions. Students
sometimes have to wait up to a month for
requested counseling services on campus.
Then, many colleges can provide only
a finite number of sessions per student,
which may not be sufficient for the
continued support needed by those coping
with mental disorders. For out-of-state
students, this may be the only help they
can access, as their in-network doctors
aren't an option, says Davis.
In response, some colleges and
universities are working with students'
insurance providers to partner with local
health care professionals on discounted
psychology services.
Fear of missteps or liability often results
in little to no action from administrators
when it comes to engaging students with
signs of mental distress. This same fear
www.universitybusiness.com

prevents a bigger push for peer groups
centered on this topic. "Students have to
survive their mental health problems all
the other hours outside of the one or two
they spend in counseling each week," says
Davis. "A peer network that is available
24/7 can do a lot to replace old support
systems, or create one where there wasn't
one before." -S.B.

Mental health
response concerns

50%

-Students, faculty
and staff who don't
feel prepared to recognize when
a student is exhibiting signs of
psychological distress (such as
depression, anxiety and suicidal
thoughts)

60%

-Those who don't feel
prepared to approach
at-risk students to discuss their
concern

52%

-Faculty, staff and
students who didn't
note any student exhibiting signs
of psychological distress in the
months prior to the survey

87%

-Survey respondents
who believe it's part
of their role to connect students
experiencing psychological
distress with mental health
support services
Source: 2017 research from Kognito
(surveys with nearly 15,000 faculty/staff
and more than 51,000 undergrads
over 5 years), www.kognito.com

PEOPLE WATCH

Jonathan Holloway is
now provost of Northwestern University.
He plans to ensure
that the university's
science resources will
remain in place deJonathan Holloway
spite federal research
dollars being at risk.
Previously, Holloway was dean of
Yale College, where he was chair of the
department of African American Studies. He has also served as master of Calhoun College and as the college's chair
of the Council of Masters. Holloway has
held fellowships from the W.E.B. Du Bois
Research Institute at Harvard University, the Stanford Humanities Center
and the Ford Foundation.
Other people news:
* In Connecticut, Paul Broadie II, president of Housatonic Community College,
is now interim president of Gateway
Community College, and President
James Lombella of Asnuntuck Community College is interim president of
Tunxis Community College. They remain
president of their respective schools,
and no immediate plans are in effect to
find permanent replacements.
* Tonjua Williams has been chosen
president of St. Petersburg College in
Florida. Williams is currently St. Petersburg's senior vice president for student
services and was previously the provost
and the vice president of academic and
student affairs.
* Daniel H. Weiss, former president of
Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, has
been named CEO of The Metropolitan
Museum of Art. During his eight-year
tenure at Lafayette, Weiss cut spending
in many areas, including his own salary
and athletics, plus created athletic
scholarships. He was previously president of Haverford College, also in Pennsylvania. -Steven Wyman-Blackburn

September 2017 | 15


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business September 2017

University Business September 2017 - Intro LOC
University Business September 2017 - Cover1
University Business September 2017 - Cover2
University Business September 2017 - 1
University Business September 2017 - 2
University Business September 2017 - 3
University Business September 2017 - 4
University Business September 2017 - 5
University Business September 2017 - 6
University Business September 2017 - 7
University Business September 2017 - 8
University Business September 2017 - 9
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University Business September 2017 - Cover3
University Business September 2017 - Cover4
University Business September 2017 - 58
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