Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, April 2, 2010

University expands online mental health resources

With end-of-semester stress starting to pile up on everyone, the university has launched several new online resources designed to help faculty and staff assist students with mental health concerns.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and the Mental Health Work Group (MHWG) are reaching out to faculty and staff with the new resources to augment the in-person counseling services, workshops and training offered to the university community.

Additional Web resources
Counseling and Psychological Services — Student counseling center in the Michigan Union
U-M Psychological Clinic — Information for faculty and staff on how to assist students
Community Provider Database — Searchable database of off-campus mental health providers
MI-Talk — Student-focused online screenings and skill-building tools
Campus Mind Works — Web-based support for students with ongoing mental health disorders

Prevention, education and early intervention are vital components of good student mental health, explains Todd Sevig, CAPS director. “Faculty and staff play a key role in creating a campuswide approach,” he says.

Often, Sevig says, faculty and staff members who have contact with students are in a good position to notice concerns and suggest to students that they seek help. That makes it critical that faculty and staff understand what resources are available and how to steer students to mental health resources.

One way to gain that understanding is to explore online training and services or to request educational presentations from CAPS.

Key to all of the new resources is a central Web portal at www.umich.edu/~mhealth/.

The site was created by the MHWG, which includes the leads of the mental health units on campus, faculty and key staff involved in campuswide mental health efforts. There are links from that site to additional resources that are tailored for students, for faculty and staff who engage students, and for the family and friends of students.

The Mental Health Work Group, which is chaired by Sevig, was created in 2001 to review all student mental health services. In the last two years the group has focused on developing deeper collaborations across campus to further enhance mental health services.

“The group has been applying the adage of ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ to student mental health. Reaching out to units all across campus is key to our mission,” Sevig says.

A new online training component focuses on the impact of mental health issues, warning signs and how to approach and refer students to appropriate campus resources. It is available at www.mentalhealthedu.com. To access the training material, type in the code 10MH170976 when asked for the “Login ID.” Individuals will need to create an account to access the online tutorials that include curriculum modules, interactive exercises and audio presentations.

“By familiarizing yourself with these online mental health resources, you can do something to help strengthen our commitment to create a supportive, engaged and healthy student community,” Sevig says.  

Other new resources recently added to the CAPS Web site are three student-centered videos. The video messages titled “How to Make a First Appointment,” “How to Initiate a Conversation with a Professor,” and “How to Help a Friend” were developed by members of the CAPS Student Advisory Board. The videos are on the Web at www.umich.edu/~caps/videos.html.

“Having online resources that augment our in-person counseling helps to extend the reach of CAPS and engages more individuals in the caring community we want to create at Michigan,” says Christine Asidao, assistant director for outreach and education at CAPS.

Units interested in additional training or information are encouraged to contact Asidao by e-mail at asidao@umich.edu or by calling 734-764-8312.