University of Rhode Island

Garrett Lee Smith Campus
Rhode Island

The proposed project aims to expand the content and delivery of an evidence-based intervention for mental and behavioral health that is designed to increase knowledge, decrease stigma, and encourage help-seeking behavior. By infusing this initiative into the academic and professional standards, this project has the potential to significantly improve mental/behavioral health outcomes and services at the University of Rhode Island. Advancing Mental Health First Aid makes broadly available training to identify, approach, and support individuals who may be struggling with mental/behavioral health concerns. The proposed initiative will develop and implement strategies to centralize and institutionalize the Advanced Mental Health First Aid curriculum through required matriculation and employment trainings, and developing a standing series of open trainings for those individuals who self-select for participation. Implementation of the core Mental Health First Aid curriculum (including the Higher Education module) will be conducted in concert with the development of 6 additional content modules aimed to more directly address the specific risk-factors that disproportionately affect vulnerable populations on college/University campuses, including: the LGBTQ community, international/multicultural student groups, student veterans, members of the Greek system, student Athletes, and students struggling with eating disorders or body image concerns. It is expected that a minimum of 600 participants will be trained during each of the first two years of the proposed project (1200), and an additional 800-900 participants will be trained during the final year (totaling a minimum of 2000-2500 trained participant over the course of the funding cycle). Participants for these trainings will include faculty/staff, and students (undergraduate and graduate) from across University campuses, colleges, and disciplines. Each training will involve self-report measures of participant knowledge of and confidence to use key Mental Health First Aid strategies to identify, approach, and support individuals struggling with mental/behavioral health concerns, including depression, anxiety, substance use/abuse, and suicidal ideation. Additional information will be gathered to evaluate participant awareness of mental/behavioral health resources on campus, as well as their confidence to refer individuals to key service providers at the University. These same constructs will be measured at 3, 6, and 12 months post-training and are expected to demonstrate increased knowledge of and confidence using skills and strategies to intervene on potential mental/behavioral health concerns, as well as increased awareness of and utilization of appropriate campus-based mental/behavioral health resources.