By Sara Miller
The University undertook a thorough, two-year review of its policies and procedures in the areas of counseling and mental health, drug and alcohol abuse prevention, and addiction treatment. Based on these results, as well as on student ideas for improvement heard over the past year at Town Hall meetings, the University has implemented several changes and enhancements to its services to help ensure that University students needing clinical support can get it easily, effectively, and promptly.
Expansion of UCC coverage beyond workday hours
Additional University Counseling Center (UCC) staff time has been made available during the evening hours so that more students can see a counselor on the River Campus. UCC hours have beenexpanded at the Eastman School of Music and the Medical Center due to increased student demand for mental health services. Emergency health services continue to be available 24/7. Additionally, group therapy sessions have been expanded to give students access to more counseling options.
UCC is piloting an online counseling program called TAO—Therapy Assisted Online. It was developed at the University of Florida and is a 7- to 14-week therapist-assisted online program that helps students with anxiety or depression who wish to use a computer-based training module with therapist assistance. This provides students 24/7 access to tools and allows students to schedule secure video-conference sessions with a therapist to monitor progress and facilitate change.
CARE Network resources
Administered through the Dean’s Office, the CARE Network enables members of the University community to express their concern about a person, incident, or issue by submitting an online CARE report. Traditionally, the CARE Network has focused on undergraduate students, but another staff member has recently been added to build a stronger program for outreach to graduate students.
More education resources toward prevention
Alcohol and drug education training for University students, administrators, and resident advisors is expanding. Members of the Student Support Network and student groups will be given additional resources on drug use and its warning signs. The Student Support Network is made up of professionals from several campus offices and departments who meet regularly to identify students and issues that may need attention, support, or other intervention.
The Office of the Dean of Students has also added a new position for a person to work with students who have exhibited high-risk drug or alcohol use behaviors. The position will conduct the BASICS (Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students) program and connect students with resources that may assist them in reducing the risk of harm from substance abuse.