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Health & Wellness Services Division of Student Affairs

Suicide prevention training available online

Suicide prevention training available online

Research shows the majority of college students who choose to tell someone they’re having suicidal thoughts talk to a friend, roommate, or romantic partner.1 That’s why it’s critical to prepare WSU students to respond to someone in crisis.

 

As part of our broader suicide prevention efforts, we’re working to train as many students, faculty, and staff as possible through our Campus Connect program. Starting this summer, Campus Connect is available online through our partnership with Global Campus.

 

Online training gives every Coug access to reliable resources and information related to suicide, and establishes a permanent resource they can refer back to. Offering the program online also ensures that WSU students on campuses throughout Washington and all over the world have access to suicide prevention training.

 

Anyone with a WSU ID number can access free, full-length suicide prevention training online.  To attend, Campus Connect you can visit the Global Campus website. You can also request brochures typically provided during training.

 

Please note the activities in this training were modified to suit the needs of a virtual audience. Campus Connect is an interactive training and most effective in-person. Suicide is a challenging and highly personal topic and reactions to talking about issues surrounding mental health and suicide can vary significantly.

 

If you have more questions or concerns about this topic or training, please email Victoria Braun at Victoria.braun@wsu.edu

 

1. Drum, Brownson, Burton Denmark, and Smith, 2014 – “New Data on the Nature of Suicidal Crises in College Students: Shifting the Paradigm.” pg. 218

We’re adding more mental health training options

We’re expanding training opportunities for mental health and suicide prevention. By adding more facilitators and online trainings, we’ll be able to educate more Cougs!

 

We now have two Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) facilitators. Our MHFA classes are always full and we often have to put people on a waiting list. With two facilitators on staff, we’ll be able to train more Cougs how to recognize and assist someone experiencing a mental health crisis.

 

We’re working with Global Campus to make mental health-related webinars, like mindfulness and self-care, available online. And coming soon, our suicide prevention training, Campus Connect, will also be available online.

 

Providing online trainings allows us to reach more people, and establishes a reliable web-based mental health reference Cougs can refer back to.

 

Additionally, this fall we’re implementing a Campus Connect refresher course to ensure previous participants are up-to-date on best practices in suicide prevention. All returning resident advisors will participate in the refresher course, and new resident advisors will take Campus Connect training for the first time.

 

When we meet with returning resident advisors, we’ll discuss how they’ve used information from Campus Connect in the past year. We’ll talk about any struggles they experienced with implementing the material, and how we can improve our program in the future.

 

By utilizing different formats to deliver trainings, and increasing the number of trainings we offer, we’ll be able to train more Cougs, both online, and at the Pullman campus.

Viewing guide for “13 Reasons Why”

Viewing guide for “13 Reasons Why”

The new Netflix series “13 Reasons Why”, a fictional story about a high school student who dies by suicide, has sparked many conversations about suicide and mental health. Recently, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about this show during suicide prevention and mental health trainings.

 

We’re really glad to hear community members talking about suicide and mental health. Talking about these topics in a caring and non-judgmental way helps create a culture that encourages getting help when you need it.

 

Like any dramatized account of mental health issues, it’s important to watch the show with a critical eye. If you’re thinking about watching, or have already watched, “13 Reasons Why”, here are some things to keep in mind.

 

Make a thoughtful decision whether or not watch the show. You may not want to watch if you’re experiencing, or have previously experienced, significant depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

 

Consider watching the show with others. Discuss what you’re seeing and experiencing along the way.

 

Be mindful of how the show is affecting you. Stop watching if you find yourself feeling distraught or depressed, having thoughts of suicide, or having trouble sleeping. If this happens, talk about it with someone you trust.

 

Think about how you might make different choices than the characters. For example, it might be helpful to think through when and how someone could have intervened to help the main character.

 

Suicide affects everyone. If you see or hear warning signs that someone is at risk of suicide, it’s critical to get help right away.

 

If you’re concerned about someone, talk with them openly and honestly. Asking someone if they’re having suicidal thoughts will not make them more suicidal or put the idea of suicide in their mind.

 

Counselors are professionals and a trustworthy source for help. If your experience with a counselor or therapist is unhelpful, look for another professional to talk to or seek out other sources of support, such as a crisis line.

 

Suicide is never the fault of survivors. There are resources and support groups to help survivors of suicide loss.

 

Care for yourself, your friends, and your family members. If you or someone you know is struggling mentally or emotionally, please get help. Getting support from loved ones and mental health care professionals can save lives.

 

We based these recommendations on guidance from the Jed Foundation.

Strengthening crisis response protocol

At our last meeting with the Jed Foundation, they provided us with recommendations for enhancing our suicide prevention and mental health promotion efforts. Based on their feedback report, our top priority is collecting all relevant crisis response protocols in one comprehensive document.

 

Our ultimate goal is to establish a protocol that clearly communicates action steps for all WSU departments and personnel both during and after helping a student in crisis.

 

Many universities have multiple policies and protocols for different types of crises, but don’t have a single comprehensive protocol in place. We’re creating a unified protocol as a proactive step to improve cross-campus collaborative support for students who need help.

 

Right now, members of the Campus Mental Health Collaborative are reviewing WSU’s existing crisis-related policies and protocols to identify potential gaps. We’re also referencing other institutions’ response protocols, which the Jed Foundation and SAMHSA identified as examples of best practice.

 

Our final comprehensive response protocol is intended to cover situations such as student death, attempted suicide in progress, threats of harm to self or others, arrest or incarceration, disruptive behavior, and other crisis situations.

 

If you want to learn more about crisis response protocol development, check out the Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s virtual learning lab where they cover how to write and review crisis protocols.

Providers trained on care for LGBTQ patients

We’re dedicated to providing the best possible medical care for WSU students of all genders and sexual orientations. After meeting with students from the Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center last fall and hearing their concerns, we’ve vigorously pursued new training and resources to better serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) students.

 

The students we spoke with identified unmet needs, including training for our staff on common issues and concerns for members of the LGBTQ community. In particular, transgender students in attendance talked about their struggle to receive gender-affirming hormone treatment locally and the importance of being able to access treatment on campus.

 

Since then, our primary care, counseling, and pharmacy staff have taken steps to improve our care for LGBTQ patients. Earlier this month, two of our health care providers attended a symposium on providing more effective, culturally sensitive care to LGBTQ patients.

 

For providers, the symposium including taking an inclusive LGBTQ health history, guidelines for primary care treatment for LGBTQ patients, and information regarding gender affirming hormone treatment. For all staff, the symposium reviewed the need for gender affirming care as well as cultural competency.

 

We plan to begin offering hormone treatment for transgender students in fall 2017. We will continue engaging with LGBTQ students and working together to address their needs going forward.

Pilot stress program helps over 150 Cougs

Pilot stress program helps over 150 Cougs

We’re helping over 150 Cougs lower their stress with our interactive pilot text message program. Every week we check in with students to see how they’re doing, then send them personalized tips for relieving stress.

 

According to National College Health Assessment data over the years, WSU students consistently report stress as the most common health-related factor affecting their academic performance. In 2016, 51.6 percent of Cougs said they experienced more than average stress in the past 12 months.

 

We’ve received a lot of positive feedback about the stress management texting program, and we’re eager to offer it to students again next year.

 

Moving forward, we want to collaborate with campus partners to increase the number of activities and resources to help Cougs lower their stress. And we’re exploring the possibility of creating a similar program just for graduate students.

 

We were able to provide the pilot stress management program with support from student technology fees and student activity fees.

Supporting health in the Greek community

Following their recent student-led moratorium, Greek leaders reached out to Health & Wellness Services staff for support and resources. Together we’re developing action plans tailored to each individual chapter to address public health concerns like violence, substance abuse, and mental health.

 

We worked with student leaders from individual chapters to survey their members and assess their attitudes and concerns around these issues. Over 2,900 Greek students responded to our survey on violence, and our survey on substance abuse is in progress.

 

After the surveys, our next step is to meet with each chapter to review their specific results and provide some initial educational information. So far, we’ve met with 39 chapters about violence prevention and continue to meet about substance abuse and mental health.

 

Why these specific topics? Research shows alcohol use, drug use, and mental health concerns can negatively affect college students’ academic performance in a variety of ways.

 

The surveys we conducted this semester show many Greek students are drinking to cope with stress. And according to the 2016 National College Health Assessment, 13.4 percent of Greek students experience academic difficulties due to alcohol.

 

Moving forward, we will provide each chapter leader with reports on survey results and suggestions for how they can promote healthy behaviors in their chapter.

Take advantage of your vision benefits

Take advantage of your vision benefits

Start your summer with the perfect pair of glasses or sunglasses! Do you wear contacts? We have those too!

 

Right now is the perfect time for graduate and international students to take advantage of their vision benefits through WSU student insurance. Our vision clinic is open all summer long and ready to help you!

 

Your $200 hardware benefit can go towards glasses, prescription sunglasses, or contact lenses. We even have a Cougar Package that includes selected frames, single vision polycarbonate lenses, and an anti-reflective coating for $200.

 

If you don’t have a vision prescription, it’s still important to visit your eye doctor every one to two years.

 

Have any questions about your insurance benefit? Please feel free to contact us. To book your appointment, call or schedule online through our Patient Portal.

Take action to prevent violence

group of students

 

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and WSU students are ready to take action to prevent violence!

 

According to 2016 climate assessment data, 67 percent of WSU students feel confident in their ability to take action to reduce interpersonal violence. When asked why they would take action, 78 percent said they feel it’s their responsibility to make people in their community safer.

 

We’re clearly committed to helping one another! But it can be easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to taking concrete action. What can we do to help? How can we make a real difference?

 

At Health & Wellness Services, we believe that every single one of us can help make our community safer. One person can’t do everything, but we can all do something. Here are some simple ways you can get involved in addressing violence in our community this month (and throughout the rest of the year!)

 

  1. Read our blog post about how you can support survivors of sexual assault.
  2. Make sure you know WSU’s Executive Policy #15 prohibiting discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct.
  3. Get familiar with the confidential and university resources
  4. Request a resource poster or print a message of support to hang in your hall, classroom, or Greek residence.
  5. Add Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse’s 24- hour emergency and support service phone number for survivors of family and sexual violence to your contacts: 1-877-334-2887.
  6. Visit the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs for tools and materials you can personalize and use for social media and events. Materials are available in four different languages!
  7. Check out #SAAM on your social media of choice to find info and resources you can share with friends and family.
  8. Follow Coug Health and Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse on Facebook for more info on violence prevention efforts in our community.
  9. Attend a Green Dot bystander training and learn how to safely intervene in a potentially dangerous situation and prevent violence from happening.
  10. Sign up for updates on violence prevention and other health news and resources.

These are just a few ways each of us can take action, and get connected to helpful resources in our community. If we work together, we can put an end to violence and make our campus a safer place.

 

This post, originally published in April 2016, has been updated with new resources and information.

Cougs support survivors of violence

two students talking

 

Here at WSU, Cougs help Cougs. Our community cares deeply about supporting and encouraging one another in all areas of our lives. This way of thinking is especially important when it comes to supporting survivors of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking. How we respond to survivors can have a huge impact on how they feel about their experience and what actions they take as they heal.

 

When someone tells you about their experience, it can be incredibly tough to know what to say and do. If you find yourself in that situation, remember what matters most: listen, believe, and support.

 

Listen. The most important thing you can do is listen without judgment. Even asking too many detailed questions can feel critical. Let the survivor tell their story at their own pace, with the details they feel comfortable providing. For some survivors, sharing their story is an important part of healing. Listening non-judgmentally and offering empathy will help them to feel safe and cared for.

 

Believe. People rarely make up stories of violence. Believe the survivor. If they say they were hurt, then they were. Assure your friend that it’s not their fault, no matter what happened, and that you believe and want to support them.

 

Support. Survivors can experience a range of emotions that are all normal. Encourage your friend to access support services, but let them decide if and when they want to use the resources you offer. You can find a comprehensive list of confidential and university resources from the Office of Equal Opportunity. If you’re able to and feel comfortable, you can offer to go with them. Everyone responds differently, and survivors’ needs may change over time. Check in with your friend occasionally and offer support again.

 

These conversations can be incredibly difficult and emotional. After talking with a friend about their experience with violence, you may want to consider seeking resources or support for yourself as well.

 

Supporting survivors is just one way Cougs take action against sexual assault and interpersonal violence in our community. Check out this list of simple steps you can take to help prevent violence and make our campus a safer place.

 

Do you want more information on how to make our campus safer? Sign up to receive news and resources for preventing violence in our community.

 

This post, originally published in April 2016, has been updated with new resources and information.