Campus safety is one of the most important aspects of any college and university. Regardless of size, funding, or location, all institutions of higher education share the common goal of building a safe and secure environment for their students to learn. The actual process of building such an environment, however, can be a difficult one. With a multitude of issues affecting college students today – including emotional distress, psychological disorders, substance use, harassment, and violence or crime – it is more challenging than ever before for schools to actually realize the vision of a safer campus climate.
How Can Institutions Improve Campus Safety?
One of the biggest opportunities for improving campus safety lies in supporting student mental health. By providing the right resources and mental health training for faculty, staff, and students, institutions can ensure that all students who are dealing with anxiety, depression, or other psychological distress are able to receive the help they need. This in turn lessens the number of students who are forced to leave school due to a mental health condition, reduces burnout, and helps prevent tragedies such as a suicide on campus. A focused approach on mental health can also encourage more conversations around student wellness, helping transform the culture around oft-stigmatized topics such as mental illness. Such a comprehensive impact on student well-being has direct, tangible effects on fostering a safer environment for students to learn.
When it comes to building mental health literacy and increasing the conversations on campus, colleges and universities are often overwhelmed with figuring out how to find, fund, and implement effective training solutions. Below, we explore how four schools have found success.
The University of Iowa
Through funding from its Student Government and University Housing and Dining, the University of Iowa implemented a first-of-a-kind mandate for its first-year and transfer students to familiarize themselves with important topics involving mental health and suicide prevention.
Read more about how the University of Iowa has prioritized student mental health in this recent article from Inside Higher Ed.
La Salle University
La Salle University leveraged funding made available through SAMHSA’s Garret Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grant to train RAs across their campus to speak with fellow students may be dealing with distress.
For more information on how La Salle is empowering its student leaders to make a difference, watch this piece by NBC Philadelphia.
Following a successful pilot program at the beginning of the school year, Princeton University introduced their first mandatory training on psychological distress by holding a “Kognito Day” wherein its first-year students completed the At-Risk for Students simulation.
You can learn more about Princeton University’s implementation of Kognito via their student newsletter.
In response to requests for more mental health-focused professional development training, Washington University introduced interactive simulations as a resource for their faculty and staff.
Listen to an interview with mental health professionals from Washington University in St. Louis to discover more.
Mental Health Training with Kognito Simulations
Over 400 campuses nationwide – ranging across geographies, enrollment, and funding resources – are currently using Kognito simulations as part of their approach to supporting student mental health on their campuses.
Each college and university that we serve has its own story and approach to improving campus safety. To begin your own journey to cultivating a safer environment for students, head here to learn about our solutions in higher education.
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