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CSU’s Student Government and University Police Join Forces for Student Mental Health

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September 1, 2022

CSU students walking on campus

A new Mental Health Task Force has been established with Columbus State University’s
Student Government (SGA) and the University Police Department (UPD) in partnership
with the JED Foundation, which provides mental health support and training resources
such as CougarsCare, Create Care, Kognito, nationally recognized mental health speakers
and Fresh Check Days.

CSU’s SGA understands the need for faculty, staff and student training in suicide
prevention and mental health well-being through Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR)
and Mental Health First Aid. QPR is an educational program training for suicide prevention
and is designed to teach the warning signs of a suicide crisis. Mental Health First
Aid is a course that teaches individuals how to identify, understand and respond to
signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

SGA recognizes the efforts of the campus police department to more readily react to
and address mental health concerns and crises by having each of its officers complete
the aforementioned pieces of training. So, at the end of August, all campus police
officers completed the training. SGA President, Jordan Allen, believes that the collaboration
with campus police will create a safer environment that promotes mental health.

“SGA has involved itself in many facets regarding mental health such as raising campus
awareness and informing the student body with helpful tips,” said SGA President Jordan
Allen. “With that being said, through our collaboration with CSU’s University Police
Department, we have made headway in creating an environment that promotes mental health
and makes our campus safer for our students. 

With UPD now being trained in QPR and Mental Health First Aid, each officer can appropriately
handle situations with students involving their mental health. This keeps the student
safe but ultimately allows the officer to approach the student with the necessary
training in order to diffuse the situation. Allen and his peers in SGA believe that
officers who undergo this rigorous training process should be recognized for their
effort.

“Throughout the school year, we plan on officially recognizing the qualified officers
at ‘Sitting of the Senate’ meetings, where they will be pinned for their achievement,”
Allen added. “This is just the first step in developing a campus that understands
its students and upholds the value of mental health and the safety of our students
and community.” 

Laura Bennett, CSU’s Chief of Police, believes that the campus community benefits
from well-trained officers.

“All of our officers have attended QPR and all but two have attended MHFA,” Bennett
stated. “Our officers were taught to recognize the signs of a mental health episode,
given guidance on how to effectively interact with persons suffering from a mental
health episode, and were provided resource options available to our community.”

For campus mental health services, visit https://www.columbusstate.edu/counseling-center/ or call the 24/7 Crisis Line at 706-507-8740.



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