Training

Early Detection

The importance of educating staff/faculty to be effective in terms of identifying and referring students with mental illness, mental health concerns, and students who may be considering suicide is crucial.

College staff/faculty hold positions that put them in direct contact with students who may be in distress. In this role, college staff/faculty may act as "gatekeepers" and play a broader role in preventing suicide within our college community. The purpose of an early detection model is to assist those first responder/gatekeeper roles to intervene earlier in the process to prevent the progression of problematic symptoms and help the student get back on track.

The importance of educating staff/faculty to be effective in terms of identifying and referring students with mental illness, mental health concerns, and students who may be considering suicide is crucial.

College staff/faculty hold positions that put them in direct contact with students who may be in distress. In this role, college staff/faculty may act as "gatekeepers" and play a broader role in preventing suicide within our college community. The purpose of an early detection model is to assist those first responder/gatekeeper roles to intervene earlier in the process to prevent the progression of problematic symptoms and help the student get back on track.

Quick Facts about Mental Illness

Two common Early Detection models are 3r’s & Q.P.R.

Recognize/ Question:

  • Becoming aware of early warning signs of mental illness can lead to help reduce the severity of an illness. It may even prevent a major mental illness altogether.
  • Asking for clarification about concern for observed behaviours, marked changes, attendance or academic concerns in a confidential and respectful way.
  • Using statements like “I’ve noticed…would you like to tell me more? Is there something I can do to support you?”

Respond/ Persuade:

  • Be supportive and understanding; never underestimate the person’s abilities.
  • Focus on persuading the student to accept help or visit mental health services.
  • Offer assurance by indicating that it is not uncommon for students to feel this way, and that there are resources to help that are available both on campus and off campus.

Refer:

  • Offer to accompany a student to resources that are available on campus and/or follow up with the student to see if the student utilized the resource. You may ask “What can I do to make you feel more comfortable about seeking help? Or “What is preventing you from seeking help?

Due to the shear prevalence of college students on campus reporting mental health issues, it is crucial that college staff/faculty prepare themselves to refer students to the appropriate campus resources. College staff/faculty should NOT feel responsible to counsel students with mental health issues or to recommend treatment. Rather, college staff/faculty needs only observe students’ behaviour and listen to self-disclosures, lend a supportive ear, and refer students to the appropriate services available within the college/campus community. The fact is, your actions could have a significant effect on a students’ future and could even save a students’ life.

An estimated 1.2 Million Canadian children and youth are affected by mental illness-however less than 20 percent will actually receive the appropriate treatment.


Warning Signs:

First signs of mental health problems differ with each individual and are not always displayed in the same way.

Common Early Warning Signs of a mental health problem are:

  • poor performances at school, or work
  • sudden mood changes
  • self-harming behavior
  • losing interest in activities and takes once previously enjoyed
  • changes in eating habits
  • sleep problems
  • feeling tired, lack of energy
  • increased anxiety, panic attacks
  • isolating yourself, socializing less, spending too much time in bed
  • excessive use of drugs or alcohol