ERIC Number: EJ792071
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr-18
Reference Count: 0
Campus Security Begins with Caring
Silverman, Morton M.
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n32 pA51 Apr 2008
Following the mass shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, the author has repeatedly been asked, as a former director of the Student Counseling and Resource Service at the University of Chicago and clinical associate professor of psychiatry, two questions: "Could this have been prevented?" and "How can we ensure that it doesn't happen on our campus?" He has no easy answer to either one, because it is virtually impossible to "violence proof" or "suicide proof" any campus. Beefing up security or increasing counseling-center staffs may be important first steps, but they can go only so far in preventing violence and promoting mental health. The challenge is to preserve an open educational culture for everyone at a time when the focus is on safety, security, and stability. The Jed Foundation and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, which work to prevent suicide among college students, recommend that colleges take a comprehensive approach to promoting mental health on campuses. Institutions should: (1) Promote social networks that reinforce a sense of campus community and relationships among students; (2) Help students develop life skills to face challenges; (3) Educate students about mental health and wellness, and encourage them to seek appropriate treatment for emotional issues; (4) Identify students who may be at risk for suicide or violent behaviors, through the use of outreach efforts, screening, and other means; (5) Increase access to effective mental-health services that accurately diagnose and appropriately treat students with emotional problems; (6) Create policies and procedures that promote the safety of distressed or suicidal students and outline how to respond to crises, including suicidal acts; and (7) Restrict access to potentially lethal sites, weapons, and other agents that may facilitate suicide attempts.
Descriptors: Health Services, Emotional Problems, School Security, School Safety, Prevention, Mental Health, Suicide, Psychiatry, Social Networks, Campuses, Violence, Skill Development, Wellness, High Risk Students, Outreach Programs, Screening Tests, Access to Health Care, School Policy
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A