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Updated 10:00 AM October 15, 2007
 

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'Do Something' campaign supports student mental health

Campus life can be stressful. Students living away from home, struggling with academic deadlines and exploring new opportunities all can lead to distress that may result in serious consequences.

The College Student Mental Health Survey found that 23 percent of U-M students think about suicide to some degree, 66 percent experience mild to severe difficulties with sleep and 83 percent experience mild to severe difficulty staying motivated for classes.

"As members of the University community, we are in the position to notice if a student is showing signs of distress and to take action with a variety of concrete things all serving the goal of getting students the help they need," says Todd Sevig, director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). "Our individual actions will serve to strengthen an environment that is supportive and engaged around student mental health issues. In short, every day that we enact our community of caring and engage our web of support, we become a stronger, healthier community."

CAPS challenges the campus community to take part in the "Do Something" campaign supporting student mental health that will begin 11 a.m. Oct. 17 in the Michigan Union.

Mental health for college students is more than just treatment; it also is about prevention, early detection, intervention and community support, he says. Another way to support the community of caring is to attend Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) training, Sevig says. It is a behavioral intervention that provides tools on how to question a person about possible suicidal thoughts, persuade them to get help and refer them for professional help. QPR is a nationally recognized, empirically supported and community-based suicide prevention program.

Information about the QPR program is available at www.umich.edu/~caps or by contacting Dr. Christine Asidao, assistant director of CAPS for Outreach and Education, at asidao@umich.edu.

Top 10 list on how to 'Do Something'

10. Go to the Do Something kick-off events 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 17 in the lower level Michigan Union or 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 24 at Pierpoint Commons.

9. Encourage students to register for MiTalk (mitalk.org), the new interactive student-focused, mental health Web site launching in January 2008.

8. Visit the CAPS website (www.umich.edu/~caps).

7. Sign-up for QPR training (individual or unit/department) on the CAPS Web site and learn how to Question about suicidal thoughts, Persuade people to get help and Refer them to the appropriate resources.

6. Listen. Talk with students in ways that reduce the stigma of seeking help.

5. Encourage students to support and/or volunteer with student groups supporting wellness (e.g., SHARE, PULSE, Finding Voice).

4. Schedule the topic of student mental health on the agenda for your next staff meeting.

3. Encourage students to take an anonymous on-line screening ranging from depression, anxiety, alcohol use or eating disorders located in the Common Concerns section at www.umich.edu/~caps.

2. Have student mental health resources materials in your office, unit/department or class (available from CAPS).

1. Share this list with a colleague and Do Something.

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