A project entitled Shared Responsibility for Mental Health at St. Olaf College, will enable a broad range of faculty, staff, fellow students, and parents who work closely with students to receive life-saving mental health awareness training to assist St. Olaf’s 2,916 undergraduates. The grant will fund a coordinator position, as well as several training modules, and the launch of an online referral system. All stakeholders will learn about adaptive coping mechanisms, signs of mental illness, interventions for de-escalating crisis situations, and how to utilize prevention resources and crisis resources. The project aim is to:
1. Educate faculty, staff, students, and parents about early warning signs of mental illness, mental health resources, and crisis intervention skills.
2. Increase the use of evidence-based mental health prevention strategies specific to college and university populations.
3. Decrease students’ maladaptive coping skills to reduce high-risk coping behaviors contributing to mental health crises.
4. Lower student suicidal ideation and suicide attempts by implementing culturally diverse, evidence-based programs that prioritize help-seeking behaviors and the destigmatization of suicide.
5. Build the capacity of faculty, staff, and parents of current students to confidently provide an environment that prioritizes student well-being.
Measurable objectives, based on these goals follow:
1. By Fall 2022, 95% of first-year students will say they have received information from the St. Olaf Wellness Center about mental health and well-being resources.
2. By Spring 2023, 75% of students will report using adaptive coping mechanisms and learning healthy ways to manage stress as a result of resilience-skill building workshops (the Sky Happiness Program) offered throughout the academic year.
3. By Fall 2024, less than 12% of students will report they have seriously considered suicide in the past year, due to suicide prevention and educational awareness training.
4. By Spring 2024, 85% of first-year and senior students will report that St. Olaf provided “quite a bit” or “very much” support (mental health educational resources) for their overall well-being. (This survey specifically measures these two class years.)
5. By Spring 2025, 85% of students, faculty, staff, and 10% of current parents of first-year students will receive training through at least one of six evidence-based training modules to recognize early warning signs of mental illness, access mental health resources, and acquire crisis intervention skills.
6. By Summer 2025, 95% of faculty will report feeling confident they provide an environment conducive to student well-being, as a result of specific training and workshop opportunities offered through the MHAT grant.