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Workshops | Concurrent Sessions | Plenary Sessions



Wednesday, March 11, 2:15 - 5:15 p.m.

The Jed and Clinton Health Matters Campus Program: An Overview and Case Study

Victor Schwartz, MD, Medical Director, The Jed Foundation; Katy Redd, MPH, MSW, CHES, Mental Health Promotion Coordinator, Counseling and Mental Health Center, The University of Texas at Austin; Marian Trattner,  MA, Suicide Prevention Coordinator, Counseling and Mental Health Center, The University of Texas at Austin

This workshop reviews the history and philosophy of the new Jed Foundation and Clinton Health Matters Campus Program. Content of old and new models will be reviewed and compared with emphasis on real life examples of programs in each area of the model.  In addition, a campus case example we be discussed in depth to explore how the model is implemented through a strategic planning process that focuses both on mental health promotion and suicide prevention.

Low Intensity-High Engagement Therapy for College Students, including TAO (Therapist Assisted Online)

Sherry Benton, PhD, ABPP, Founder and President, TAO Connect, Inc.

Many College and University Counseling Centers are overwhelmed with student demand for service with not enough counseling hours to meet the demand.  With tight budgets counseling centers are not likely to be able to hire their way out of this problem.   There is an urgent need for alternatives that expand counseling centers capacity, reduce costs, and improve client outcomes.  Low intensity-high engagement treatment combines very brief counselor contact (10-20 minutes) with on-line educational and practice tools to meet this need.  The model has been well researched internationally, and has begun to be researched and tried in the US.  This session will focus briefly on the supply and demand problems in counseling centers, then describe low intensity- high engagement therapy.  The session will introduce the research on the model and finally describe one example implemented at the University of Florida, Therapist Assisted Online.

The “Tyranny of the Shoulds” and the Pernicious Effects of Self-Criticism on College Students’ Mental Health: Can Self-Compassion Make a Difference?

Elke Smeets, PhD, Lecturer, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Netherlands; Ricks Warren, PhD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan

Self-criticism has been found to be a pervasive vulnerability factor for numerous mental health conditions. Self-criticism has been shown to interfere with college students’ goal obtainment and interpersonal relationships.  Factors that maintain self-criticism will be presented, and participants will engage in experiential exercises demonstrating ways to reduce self-criticism.  Self-compassion has been shown to be a resilience factor associated with college students’ adjustment to the transition to college, selection of autonomous goals, less depression and homesickness, better interpersonal relations, and higher satisfaction with college. This presentation will review the research on the deleterious effects of self-criticism and the protective and resiliency effects of self-compassion in college students. The findings of a recent study conducted by Dr. Smeets and her colleagues on the effectiveness of a 3 week self-compassion intervention for enhancing resilience and well-being in female college students will be presented, and the core skills of the intervention program will be introduced and practiced. The workshop is appropriate for students, teachers, counselors and therapists, and anyone involved in developing programs to enhance the mental health of college students.

How “Virtual Humans” are Supporting Suicide Prevention Efforts Among Students and Student Veterans: What Five Years and Twelve Training Simulations Have Taught Us

Glenn Albright, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Baruch College and Director of Research, Kognito; Chris Cate, PhD, Vice President of Research, Student Veterans of America; Ron Goldman, Co-founder and CEO, Kognito

The use of game-based simulated role-play conversations with emotionally responsive virtual students and student veterans is an efficacious and cost-effective method to train large numbers of geographically dispersed individuals in gatekeeper skills.  In this session, participants will gain an understanding of (1) the neuroscience and social cognitive theories that drive the learning model and game engine  that brings about changes is gatekeeper behaviors, (2) how virtual human gatekeeper simulations are developed from conception to testing, (3) the advantages of using virtual humans, (4) the research methodology and validated measures to determine training efficacy, (5) best practices to successfully disseminate and market simulations and (6) best practices in supporting student veterans, including developing military cultural competency and gatekeeper behaviors within academic communities.  Meta-analytic data from longitudinal studies involving over 12,500 participants will be presented to demonstrate impact on gatekeeper attitudes and behaviors.  Additionally, data will be presented from a longitudinal study that examined the impact of a simulation designed to train faculty and staff in military cultural competency and gatekeeper skills specific to student veteran populations.


2:15 – 3:45 pm

Ban Busy and Make Mindful for Less Stress

Kellie Carbone, MA, Health Educator, Wolverine Wellness/University Health Service, University of Michigan; Amy Homkes-Hayes, MSW, Coordinator, The Career Center, Integrative Learning Manager, Student Life, Adjunct Lecturer, College of LS&A, University of Michigan; Joy Pehlke, MEd, Health Educator, Wolverine Wellness/University Health Service, University of Michigan; Jennifer Wegner, MEd, Assistant Director, Office of Student Affairs, University of Michigan College of Engineering

In today's landscape it feels like we are all being asked to do more with less. The often relied upon phrase to sum up the demands on our time - "I'm busy" - has created a culture where busy is both normal and valued. But is being busy what we should strive for? In this interactive session we will introduce participants to the culture of busy and facilitate powerful practices of mindfulness and mindful awareness to interrupt the dis-ease of having too much to do. We will provide proven ways to incorporate mindfulness into your life, useful in navigating the stressors we all face living and working in dynamic and achievement-oriented cultures. Join us as we struggle with the culture of busy, moving towards a model of work life integration, and mindfulness practice.

3:45 – 5:15 pm

Creative Programs for De-Stressing College Students: Mental Health Circus and a New Model for Animal Assisted Interaction

Tanya K. Bailey, MSW, LICSW, Animal-Assisted Interaction Program Specialist, Nature Based Therapeutic Services, University of Minnesota; Gary Christenson, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Boynton Health Service, University of Minnesota

Objectives: Attendees of this session will be able to: 1) identify how the arts provide opportunities for improved mental health promotion, 2) describe how students easily relate to circus arts metaphors, 3) identify student motivations to attend animal assisted interactions (AAI), 4) describe the benefits of participation in AAI.

Two successful creative approaches to college mental health and stress reductions are described in detail. Cirque de-Stress features eight half-hour circus performances held during the course of a day that employ balance and juggling as metaphors for handling the stresses of life. Students visit peripheral stations featuring campus mental health resources between performances. Post-event surveys demonstrate that the majority of students learn a new stress reduction skill, indicate a greater likely of proactively managing stress, indicate that they are more likely to use campus resources in the future, have increased awareness of specific campus mental health resources, view the event as stigma reducing, and experience stress reduction during the circus itself. Animal Assisted Interaction (AAI) Teams are regularly featured at Cirque de-stress. The observed popularity of AAI led to the development PAWS (Pet Away Worry and Stress),  a program providing access without appointment to registered AAI teams every Wednesday afternoon throughout the school year. Teams primarily include dogs but cats, rabbits, a miniature horse and Woodstock, a registered therapy chicken, are also featured. Approximately 1600 individuals participated in the first semester of the second year of the program with over 65% attending two or more sessions. Top reasons for attendance are stress relief, to have fun, and missing a pet at home. Reduced stress was reported by 97% of participants. Additional evaluation and future program development will be discussed.


Concurrent Sessions

Thursday, March 12, 10:45 - 12:00 pm

Effectively Engaging At-Risk Students through the AFSP Interactive Screening Program

Maggie G. Mortali, Director of the Interactive Screening Program, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; Laura Hoffman, Manager of the Interactive Screening Program, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

The anonymous Interactive Screening Program (ISP) provides a simple and effective way to reach at-risk students and encourage them to get help. This presentation covers suicide risk among college and university students, barriers to help-seeking, and how the ISP proactively engages those in need. Participants learn how the ISP supports student mental health and creates a culture that recognizes that stress and depression are common and treatable problems in today’s world.

Interpersonal Relationships in the Culture of Stress: Examining Competition, Discrimination, and Peer Support in College Student Mental Health

Julie Posselt, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Education, University of Michigan; Sarah Ketchen Lipson, EdM, Doctoral Candidate in Higher Education and Public Health, University of Michigan

Students identify stress, anxiety, and depression among the top factors impairing their academic performance. Competitive learning environments in higher education can create stress by leading students, especially those from marginalized backgrounds, to question their potential and belonging.  In this presentation, we will explore relationships between students’ mental health—depression, anxiety, and flourishing (positive mental health)—and their academic and social environments. Specifically, we will address two questions: (1) Are competitive learning environments associated with negative mental health? How does this relationship vary across student identities (gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, parental education)? and (2) Are experiences of discrimination and weak peer support associated with negative mental health? How do these relationships vary across student identities?

Engaging the Un-Engageable:  LiveWellNYU as a Path to Student Well-being

Allison J. Smith, MPA, Manager, Public Health Initiatives and Assessment, New York University; Jodi Bailey, MEd, BA, Director of Student Affairs,  Tisch School of the Arts, New York University; Ethan Youngerman, MFA, Senior Language Lecturer and Faculty Fellow in Residence, Expository Writing Program, New York University

National College Health Assessment data have demonstrated a significant disparity between students’ self-perceptions of being healthy and their actual health behaviors, outcomes, and quality of life indicators.  Students may not even perceive the need to address many of the most prevalent health issues with a health or mental health professional. As such, innovative strategies that extend beyond traditional clinical models are needed to successfully foster student wellbeing.  This presentation will introduce LiveWellNYU, a comprehensive, university-wide, multi-dimensional framework that leverages evidence-based, population-level interventions combined with innovative strategies to engage NYU students in being active partners in their health and wellbeing.  LiveWellNYU infuses a behavioral economics approach to facilitate students into a process of behavior change and help-seeking.  The panelists, who represent diverse roles within a university community, will discuss: how LiveWellNYU leverages the many touch points on campus that a student encounters; and our strategy for mobilizing administrators, faculty members, student leaders, and parents to proactively support and influence the full spectrum of students’ health.  At the conclusion of this session, attendees will be able to: identify theoretical frameworks for implementing effective campus-wide health interventions; detail approaches for identifying, empowering, and mobilizing likely partners in their campus community to support student wellbeing; and discuss the challenges and opportunities for engaging non-health partners in supporting student health.

“Stress-Less @ Stanford”: Development and Implementation of a Community Based Stress Management Intervention for University Students

Alejandro M. Martínez, Ph.D., Senior Associate Director for Consultation and Liaison, Vaden Health Center, Stanford University; Lindsay Ellch, Psy.D, Staff Psychologist, Vaden Health Center, Stanford University

Thursday, March 13, 1:30 - 2:45 pm

Athletes Connected: An Innovative Program to Address the Unique Mental Health Concerns of Student Athletes

Daniel Eisenberg, PhD, Associate Professor of Health Management and Policy, School of Public Health and Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan; Kally Fayhee, BA, Former U-M Student Athlete and Account Manager, Leo Burnett Chicago; Barb Hansen, LMSW, Athletics Counselor, University of Michigan Athletic Department; William Heininger, BA, Former U-M Student Athlete and Project Coordinator, Athletes Connected, University of Michigan Depression Center and Athletic Department; Stephanie Salazar, MPH, CHES Program Coordinator for Outreach & Education, University of Michigan Depression Center

Many student-athletes experience mental health problems such as severe stress, depression, and anxiety, but are often reluctant to seek help for a variety of reasons. A recent study showed that while only 33% of college students with depression or anxiety will access mental health services, this number drops to 10% for student-athletes who are struggling. To address this issue, the University of Michigan developed the Athletes Connected initiative with initial funding from an NCAA Innovations in Research Grant.  Athletes Connected aims to change the culture regarding the mental health and well-being of our student athletes at the University of Michigan, and beyond.

Through a comprehensive approach involving student engagement, targeted interventions, and scientific research, Athletes Connected equips student athletes with the evidence-based skills and support they need to increase their emotional health and be successful in athletics, academics, and all other aspects of their lives.

This session will focus on the key components of the Athletes Connected pilot program, highlight research findings, and discuss next steps for developing a long-term and sustainable model. Session attendees will be encouraged to share their thoughts and suggestions regarding potential program dissemination and replication on other campuses.

The Provost's Committee on Student Mental Health: A Campus-wide Approach

Barbara Blacklock, MA, LISW, Disability Resource Center, Program Coordinator, University of Minnesota; Michelle Trotter-Mathison, Ph.D., Assistant Director, Boynton Health Service Mental Health Clinic, University of Minnesota

This session will focus on the benefits to colleges and universities of creating a Provost appointed committee to proactively address student mental health as a campus-wide, public health issue.

This vibrant campus committee at the University of Minnesota is composed of 23 university members representing diverse academic and administrative units and student organizations.  This committee has met monthly for the past 10 years and has successfully changed University policy, created a campus mental health website, developed annual campus-wide marketing campaigns, provided training to faculty, staff and students on their roles related to student mental health, used new messaging to promote early interventions and sponsored a campus-wide mental health forum. The presenters will provide an overview of how to develop and sustain a productive mental health focused campus-wide committee.

Depressive Symptoms and Binge Drinking in College Students: A Case for an Integrated Treatment Program

Paola Pedrelli, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Psychology, Harvard Medical School, Director of Dual Diagnoses Studies, Depression Clinical Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital

The session will outline the severe consequences associated with the co-occurrence of depressive symptoms and heavy episodic drinking in college students and the rationale for addressing these problems with combined approaches. Moreover, the session will illustrate strategies to integrate, in an empirically supported fashion, two evidence-based treatments. An innovative therapy program for depressive symptoms and heavy episodic drinking in college students integrating Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Brief Motivational Intervention will be described. Strategies to engage college students in mental health treatment will also be presented.

Using Smartphones to Assess Mental Health and Academic Performance of College Students

Andrew Campbell, PhD, Professor of Computer Science, Dartmouth College

Much of the stress and strain of student life remains hidden. The StudentLife continuous sensing app assesses the day-to-day and week-by-week impact of workload on stress, sleep, activity, mood, sociability, mental health and academic performance of a single class of 48 students across a 10 week term at Dartmouth College using Android phones.  Results from the StudentLife study show a number of significant correlations between the automatic objective sensor data from smartphones and mental health and educational outcomes of the student body.  We also identify a Dartmouth term lifecycle in the data that shows students start the term with high positive affect and conversation levels, low stress, and healthy sleep and daily activity patterns.  As the term progresses and the workload increases, stress appreciably rises while positive affect, sleep, conversation and activity drops off.  In this talk, Professor Campbell will discuss the design of the StudentLife app, key results and the future vision of how to turn a smartphone into a mental health tracker using passive monitoring.


Plenary Sessions

Opening Keynote: Wednesday, March 11, 1:10 - 2:00 pm

A Long-term View of the Student Mental Health Crisis: Lessons Learned over 25 Years

Michael D. Young, PhD, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (retired), University of California Santa Barbara

This keynote address will explore, from the perspective of a university Vice President, the national student mental health crisis that became evident at the turn of the millennium and has continued to grow throughout the past fifteen years.  Encompassing not just depression but an array of other diagnoses, the large number of cases has become one of the greatest challenges for campuses across the nation to find ways and resources to provide an environment that supports psychological health and wellness and to enable early identification and response for students in psychological distress.  Dr. Young will describe his campus’ organizational responses to the student mental health crisis, showing how the “best practices” developed at the University of California, Santa Barbara have allowed that campus to successfully reach out to students in distress and provide them with appropriate care - and will then discuss how these strategies can be effectively implemented on other campuses as well.

Panel Discussion: Thursday, March 12, 9:00- 10:30 am

Redefining the Culture of Stress: A Leadership Perspective

Javaune Adams-Gaston, Ph.D, Vice President for Student Life, The Ohio State University; Gina Casalegno, BA, MS, Dean of Student Affairs and Associate Vice President, Carnegie Mellon University; Susan H. Murphy, PhD, Vice President, Student and Academic Services, Cornell University

While we know that there always will be some level of stress, competition, and pressure in a college student’s life, must success always be equated with high stress? Is it possible for a university to continue promoting a culture of academic rigor and excellence, while simultaneously encouraging positive student mental health? And what role can, and should, the university administration play in this regard? In this panel, leaders from three universities will discuss their experiences of working to affect change on an institutional level, in order to redefine the climate of stress on campus and create a healthier university culture.

Closing Keynote: Thursday, March 12, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Rethinking Stress: The Role of Mindsets in Determining the Stress Response

Alia Crum, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Stanford University

This talk will cover a series of studies that explore the role of mindset in determining the effects of stress.  Dr. Crum will present results from a variety of lab experiments that demonstrate the effects of stress mindset —one’s belief that stress is debilitating or enhancing— on emotional, physiological and cognitive correlates of stress. In addition, she will present results from a series of field-based interventions aimed at helping individuals deliberately choose a stress-is-enhancing mindset to effect positive changes in health and performance.   Dr. Crum will end by discussing practical and theoretical implications for the growing body of research on stress mindset and its application to depression on college campuses and other educational settings.