While faculty and staff might soon be able to undergo training for sexual assault, there is one major training piece missing for faculty and staff that will enable UNC to feel safe for students — mental health.
Currently, UNC faculty do not undergo mandatory mental health training. However, one in four American adults have a mental illness. There are many across UNC’s campus that live with these issues.
Professors and faculty members are leaders on campus. They also interact with students on a daily basis. It is only natural therefore that faculty should have training to better respond to students’s mental health issues. Professors want their students to succeed on both an academic and personal level. Yet at times these issues prevent students from finding success.
Training would provide faculty and staff with the tools, knowledge and skills to interact with students. Though the implementation of this training may take some time, there are already many resources on campus at their disposal.
It would behoove departments all across campus to interact with groups such as Rethink: Psychiatric Illness, which is developing a training program for faculty. In addition, departments can confer with Counseling and Psychological Services to develop a training program similar to the one Resident Advisers undergo in order to learn what resources students can utilize.
An emphasis should also be placed on the training of teaching assistants. Though professors do interact with students, in many classes, teaching assistants have much more individual interaction with students.
At the end of the day, UNC faculty and staff should be prepared to assist students when they are suffering from mental illness. Sometimes, it doesn’t have to be anything more than just reaching out and showing support.
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