Tulsa Community College receives a $375,000 grant to expand mental health training for faculty, staff and a select group of students. The grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a goal to reach most of TCC’s full time faculty and staff. So far, TCC has already trained 150 faculty and staff in Mental Health First Aid and plans to train an additional 630 faculty, staff and select students over a three-year period.
Much like First Aid or CPR training, Mental Health First Aid is designed to give people the skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Statistics show that up to 75% of mental disorders develop before the age of 25, making TCC’s student body a relevant population of focus for early identification and intervention.
“Not only are TCC students ethnically diverse with a higher than average likelihood of being uninsured, the state of Oklahoma and the Tulsa region trails the nation in mental health services,” said Jessica Heavin, TCC director of wellness services. “Oklahoma is 46th in per capita funding for state-sponsored behavioral health services according to a 2013 study by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors Research Institute.”
In addition, the grant will help TCC develop a clear mental health service and referral plan and implement an evidence-based mental health awareness campaign to reduce the stigma associated with seeking assistance with mental health issues. This includes assisting and directing TCC students to needed resources and services at TCC and within the community with the help of a full-time case manager checking in with those students. Combined, the entire plan will act as coordinated care for students in need of mental health services and enhance the College’s approach to mental health services for its student body.
“This project will allow us to build safety nets and remove barriers for our students to get the services they need from our mental health providers in the community,” said Jan Clayton, Ed.D., TCC senior student affairs officer. “If we can help people adapt or cope with their mental health issue at the point it develops and then manage it, we help our students succeed not just at college but at life as well.”
Student leaders in the areas of Student Government Association, True Blue Leads, a student scholarship ambassador program, and Veteran students will be offered the training.
This project aligns with TCC’s strategic plan to increase efforts to ensure campus safety as well as provide more personalized support services for students.