Whereas, Despite the fact that studies have disputed the claim that individuals suffering from mental illness are more prone to committing violence, the tragedy in Tucson, Arizona reminded all of us in the community college system that our students come to us with varying backgrounds and a myriad of needs that in many cases go undetected before they arrive at our campus doors;
Whereas, Two states violently impacted by the acts of students with mental health challenges, Virginia and Illinois, legally require threat assessment/behavioral intervention teams (BIT), and the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association estimates about 1600 college campuses currently have such teams;
Whereas, Dwindling student services funding and a deeply ingrained stigma against people suffering from psychological disorders have contributed to colleges’ lack of preparedness in serving students with mental health needs; and
Whereas, Colleges should recognize that a sole department, such as health services, Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSP&S), or general counseling, is not adequately staffed to provide the necessary breadth of support to students with psychological disabilities, and that campuses with a BIT that includes representation from areas such as health services, DSP&S, counseling, veterans’ services, and public safety are much better prepared to respond to students with mental health needs, and that evidence shows BITs partnering with community mental health organizations are particularly successful;
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges strongly urge local senates to encourage their campuses to create a Behavioral Intervention Team that includes at a minimum representation from health services, DSP&S, counseling, public safety, veterans’ services, and community mental health (e.g., National Alliance for Mental Illness, county mental health);
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges disseminate to the field the findings and recommended effective practices of “A Survey of Mental Health Practices in California Community Colleges” (Conrad 2010) and the Health Services Association of California Community Colleges (HSACCC) Consortium 2007 and 2010 System-wide Assessment based on the National College Health Assessment by the American College Health Association; and
Resolved, That Academic Senate for California Community Colleges provide information highlighting effective practices taking place on community college campuses for serving students with mental health needs.
MSC Disposition: Local Senates
Plenary session addressed content (Fall 2014).