By Andrea Mau
Web Content Assistant Manager
An unseen toll on the mind is just one of the many challenges people face today during an epidemic. According to Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), 4 in 10 U.S. adults reported symptoms of depression, anxiety, addiction and other mental disorders in 2020 compared to 1 in 10 in 2019.
More than ever, mental health is on the rise, and Texas State seeks to address this need with resources dedicated to mental health awareness.
The University Police Department (UPD) held a virtual conference on May 5 in which campus faculty discussed the Mental Health Community Liaison Program and other resources on campus for those in crises.
Guests such as Mental Health Liaison Officer Kinney addressed the growing need for informed officers in response to mental health-involved emergencies- which have steadily increased in occurrence. This lack of education within the Department, and the U.S. justice system as a whole, may lead to the mishandling of cases.
Officer Kinney and a team of two others have been designated with the task of handling these situations with specialized Mental Health Peace Officer Certification training.
With this dedicated team, mental health emergencies can be more appropriately handled on campus and prevent further harm to individuals with disorders and those around them.
“It’s very important that we speak upon what mental health looks like [and] the services that we have out there for our community, not only for the Bobcat family, but everybody,” Officer Kinney said during the virtual forum.
The Texas State Counseling Center, along with their individual and group therapy counseling services, will also provide their Webinar series on specific mental illness topics, self-help wellness videos, podcasts and apps.
According to the Texas State faculty of the virtual forum, the best way to approach someone who may be undergoing mental distress is to have patience, listen and- most importantly- reach out for help.
If one is unsure of what they or a loved one is experiencing mental health issues, the center even provides screening tests for concerned students to identify the type of help they may require.
If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts or mental distress, contact a UPD Mental Health Officer, Counseling Services or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-8255.
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