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MU Brings Attention to Mental Health Training Programs

Adam Procter

The University of Missouri is expanding its mental health training program. Christy Hutton is the Assistant Director for Outreach and Communications at the MU Counseling center. She created RESPOND, an intensive, one-day interactive program aimed to teach students how to respond when someone is dealing with mental concerns. RESPOND stands for Recognize signs and symptoms, Empathize, Share your concern, Pose open questions, Offer hope, Navigate resources and policies, and Do self-care.

The RESPOND program will expand to MU sister campuses in November and will eventually expand to state funded schools in Missouri.

So far, only MU faculty and staff have taken part in the training but soon the program will include graduate students due to the support and sponsorship by the graduate school with encouragement from the Graduate Student Association.

Hutton said she would love to see the program expand to everybody on campus.

“The more people who know how to respond and who are willing to step up and respond the richer our community and the more likely the people are to get their mental health needs met sooner, the sooner the people get their mental health needs met the sooner they more likely they are to get back to just being their normal selves and in their lives,” Hutton said.

Hutton said they are focusing on bringing the training to undergrads and would love to partner with a student organization to offer training. Last year, the Mizzou Student Suicide Prevention Coalition trained a majority of their members. Mizzou Reslife has also trained their Resident Assistants on mental health.

One student organization that is putting mental health awareness on the forefront is the student organization Active Minds. Christine Glissmann works as the advisor for Active Minds along with working in the office support at the MU Resource Center.

Glissmann said we need to change the conversations surrounding mental health because two-thirds of people that need help do not seek it partly because of the stigma associated with mental health.

Glissmann said programs like Active Minds and REPSOND help people better understand the signs of mental health and help start the conversation.

“It’s a good way to create a dialogue and also tweak your dialogue. A lot of people don’t know how to talk about mental health. If someone say is thinking about suicide and things like that, that’s a hard topic. So going through response training will help kind of create a dialogue,” Glissmann said.

Glissmann said RESPOND and other program like “Ask, Listen, Refer,” create advocates for mental health on campus.

“These programs are really good to push out and everyone should take them because you never know when you are going to be in a situation where you can be an advocate and you can help make the difference in someone’s life,” Glissmann said. 

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