2023 Conference Breakout Sessions
Thursday, June 15, 2023
9:45 - 10:45 AM
ProjectConnect: Building a Stronger Community One Friend at a Time
Abstract: College students crave more meaningful interactions and friendships. According to the National Freshman Motivation to Complete College Report, three quarters of first year students name making new friends as their top priority. Gen Z reports higher levels of loneliness than any other age group, and loneliness rates have been steadily climbing over the past few decades. According to the National College Health Assessment, half of students meet the criteria for loneliness at any given time. Social connection has long been recognized as the single most important factor for protecting against suicide risk and positive relationships are the number one predictor of happiness. Positive relationships can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression and prevent mental health crises, thus alleviating the burden on counseling and support services. ProjectConnect is an evidence-based program created by Jessica Gifford, LICSW that is designed to build connection and community. It is typically run as an in-person, peer-facilitated, highly structured and easy-to-implement 5-session program. Groups of 4-6 participants are led through a sequence of engaging questions and fun activities that have been demonstrated to build empathy, connection, and friendship. This presentation will focus on the implementation of ProjectConnect at Mount Holyoke College.
Grief work across campus
Abstract: This presentation will present the ongoing evolution of student grief support models utilized by Stanford CAPS and cross campus partnerships. Levels of systems change to support students' in their grieving journey will be reviewed. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the impact of grief and loss upon their students, particularly in the aftermath of COVID-19, escalaing racially motivated violence and deaths of despair (deaths by suicide, overdose). Modalities ranging from brief therapy, support groups, community partners, Art of Grief for class credit, as well as staff and faculty training will be reviewed with the purpose of aiding participants to examine methods for strengthening their campus grief support systems and planning. Considerations for protecting the emotional health of counselors, faculty, and staff in this work will also be addressed as we look to the years ahead in supporting this historically large population of student grievers.
Black Mental Health Matters
Abstract: Black students that attend Predominantly White Institutions (PWI) face unique Mental Health challenges they feel many cannot understand. Black students continue to face multiple layers of circumstances that impact their social, emotional, physical and mental well-being. Black Mental Health Matters takes a deep dive into the lens of the Black student experience. The conversations that take place in the Black Mental Health Matters workshop explores and discusses themes such as discrimination, microaggresions, racism, as well as cultural norms and family dynamics Black students face at home and how they navigate this on campus. The workshop is designed to be a safe space where students can connect with others, share their stories, and identify creative ways to cope with their unique experiences.
1:30 - 3:00 PM
Outreach Embedded Everywhere: Infusing an outreach organizational structure within an embedded counselor program.
Darreon Greer Sr.
Abstract: Embedded counselor programs have grown exponentially in recent years. During this time, we have gained multiple insights into how to maximize the success of an embedded program. We have identified the key mental health benefits to students and campus partners. We have utilized innovative practices to reach students, faculty, and staff, including those students who may not engage in traditional counseling. This is certainly true at The Ohio State University where 17 embedded clinicians serve 16 areas. However, what of outreach? Embedded therapists enhance their impact on the communities they serve by providing multiple modes of service delivery beyond individual therapy. Outreach is the voice of the counseling center and embedded therapists are well-placed consultants who amplify our messages of prevention and cultural responsiveness as we advocate for caring communities. During this session, the presenters will discuss how Glass's (2019) organizational framework for outreach has been used to enhance and provide structure for outreach and consultation within embedded areas. Embedded clinicians will share examples of their outreach activities. Attendees will be invited to join the conversation.
Arts & Outreach: Connecting BIPOC students with Healing Practices
Abstract: How to best serve BIPOC students on today's college campus continues to be a question for practitioners. The rates of mental health issues for these students has risen from 2013 to 2021. One intervention tool that has begun to be incorporated in meeting the mental health needs has been through the incorporation of creative arts. This includes the combination of multiple modalities such as poetry, music, and art. For BIPOC students research has shown that the arts are an integral part of not only their culture but also in healing. While BIPOC students continue to face barriers to treatment, the incorporation of creative arts into outreach efforts may prove to be a powerful prevention tool. This session looks to explore the development of creative arts outreach events and its impact on students. The development of these outreach efforts also impact the practitioners who share this identity with students, in maintaining their own self care plans.
Outreach as Liberation: Applying Concepts of Decolonization to Our Practice
Abstract: The concept of decolonization has been used as a vehicle toward liberation, equity and inclusion in many domains of mental health practice. Recognizing and mitigating the impact of systemic oppression and historical trauma can enhance the services we provide to our campus communities and foster deeper trust in our centers. In this session, we will explore how to transform our outreach efforts using principles of decolonization, transformative complicity, and cultural humility. Throughout the presentation participants will be invited to engage in critical, compassionate reflection on their existing outreach efforts, brainstorm new approaches that better serve marginalized student communities, and share collective wisdom in the room.
Reclaim your impact, Rise up in community, and engage in Rest: Essentials for Early Career Outreach Professionals
Abstract: Outreachers are tasked with meeting the growing demands of student mental health concerns. To be successful in higher education, one must operate from best practices and have comprehensive outcomes. This session will include a panel of AUCCCO mentorship and consultation committee members who will share information and strategies related to essential areas of outreach. This program format will include information sharing, small group discussion, application exercises, and question and answer. The information covered is divided into three necessary areas and prepared for those with under three years of outreach administration experience:
Friday, June 16, 2023
9:45 - 10:45 AM
Dealing with Death: A Holistic Review of Grief in a College Setting
Abstract: This review aims to analyze the holistic grief effects of college students while considering the intersectionality of gender, race/ethnicity, and the integration of socio-cultural-political factors. Grief symptomatology is assumed to be universal, but social identities (gender, race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, spirituality, and socioeconomic status) can directly impact bereavement. Through this review, culturally informed research will highlight culturally competent interventions that college counseling centers can provide for students experiencing the impact of grief. College students face unique challenges regarding academic pressures, socialization, and the formation of their autonomous identities. In such intense moments, grief can easily cripple and manifest in ways that produce detrimental outcomes. It is imperative that college counseling center therapists collaborate with grieving students to be aware of the various holistic effects of grief. Accurately identifying and addressing holistic grief effects will ensure proper support and healthy bereavement adjustments. Additionally, therapists must consider cultural factors and identities when conducting grief therapy to not stigmatize or perpetuate disenfranchised grief.
Using an Art Based Outreach Framework for Diverse Student Populations
Abstract: Expressive art therapies have traditionally been utilized to address the trauma experiences of individuals. University and college counseling centers are beginning to increase outreach offerings focusing on art based therapies. Learn about how one university counseling center is utilizing an art based program in meeting the emotional and diverse needs of marginalized students. This presentation will provide an overview of the program as well as review the opportunities and challenges when implementing such a program on other campuses.
Social Justice and Inclusion Counselors Model for Outreach Implementation
Abstract: College students with systemically marginalized identities and pre-existing mental health concerns experience additionally disparate harm resulting from identity-based harassment, emotional/physical violence, discrimination, and vicarious trauma within academic settings rooted in white supremacist values (Center for Collegiate Mental Health, 2023). Despite decades of literature recommending outreach strategies to address the issue, University Counseling Centers (UCC), as a microcosm of the greater inequitable system, continue to face difficulties with outreach implementation (Bonner, 1997; Golightly et al., 2017; Smith et al., 2003). The workshop aims to review the Social Justice & Inclusion (SJI) Counselors model at Vanderbilt UCC. Since launching in January 2022, the SJI Counselor model has implemented research-recommended strategies in an effort to increase retention of systemically marginalized students at Vanderbilt(Boone et al., 2011). SJI Counselors have advocated for replacing current white supremacist values embedded within UCC policies and procedures. After 1.5 years since the SJI Counselor model’s inception, Vanderbilt students reported the highest level of satisfaction in VUCC's history around our staff's cultural sensitivity and awareness (Vanderbilt Student Care Network, 2023). The SJI Counselor model provides a guide for more culturally responsive and trauma informed clinical treatment options, outreach, and community initiatives for systemically marginalized students. It also provides a sustainable framework for UCC clinicians with a support system allowing oscillation between rest and resistance.
The Audacity to Believe in Yourself: Leaping from an Outreach role to Director of a Counseling Center
Abstract: Historically, counseling center directors have primarily transitioned from previous roles as clinical directors and training directors. As leadership roles in counseling center outreach have increased in the past 5-10 years, outreach professionals are at a critical moment in which the opportunity to have a seat at the table and impact the future of college mental health support is present in a new way. Acknowledging the various historically oppressed identities that outreach professionals often hold and honoring the notion that "you can't believe what you can't see", this session will explore the journey of two outreach professionals who have recently made the transition from outreach leadership to directors at two counseling centers. Culturally responsive leadership models that center equity and justice will be discussed, as well as how one's various social identities and their communities can be utilized in developing their voice and the confidence to believe in themselves, come into their light, and pursue a path toward the directorship.
Adapting Suicide Prevention Efforts to our "New Normal" State of Polycrisis
Irene Daboin Dominguez
Abstract: Amidst the simultaneous occurrence of several catastrophic events (e.g., COVID-19, war in Ukraine, ongoing racial injustice, climate change) in addition to the new realities of higher education and counseling center work (e.g., staffing challenges, increased demand and levels of clinical acuity) - how can we still engage in meaningful suicide prevention efforts while also prioritizing staff self-care? This is the question we have been faced with and are exploring at Emory University CAPS, and the motivation behind the development of our new suicide prevention training video and workshop. This presentation will provide an overview of our process for engaging key stakeholders to secure funding, creating our training video, and starting to deploy it. We will also address the complexities of navigating this process during a time of transition in leadership, staffing, and funding. Lastly, we will share some of the preliminary qualitative data gathered during the pilot phase of this process and invite the audience to provide feedback (given the process is still ongoing). We hope to share what we have learned so that others might take from our experience and find their own way of balancing student and community needs with agency demands, systemic pressures, and self-care.
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Utilizing virtual outreach to increase accessibility of services to BIPOC students on college campuses
Abstract: We aim to provide an overview of the increasing demand for college counseling services in general while highlighting the disparity in service utilization amongst students. We will be focusing on service utilization amongst BIPOC students and elaborate on various factors and barriers that might determine accessibility to mental health services on campus for them. Our goal is to identify and discuss different virtual outreach activities and avenues that can be helpful in addressing some of these barriers and challenges. We will also provide a brief overview of how virtual outreach can contribute to service visibility and availability, especially for marginalized populations on campus. We aim to highlight current virtual outreach efforts and their impact on service utilization for BIPOC students while discussing the continued need for similar interventions.
Embedded and Culturally Matched Counseling for Minoritized Students: Theoretical Foundations, Practical Implications and Student Voices
Abstract: To address the urgent need of mental health services on college campuses, particularly for Black students in HWIs (Historically White Institutions), this presentation focuses on a model of embedded counseling within campus cultural centers. Embedded counseling refers to having a college counselor co-located and providing services in a department or center on campus (e.g. cultural center for Black students) instead of within the traditional counseling building. Despite potential benefits (Karaffa et al., 2020), little research exists on embedded counseling. This is a necessary approach to examine given the high need for mental health treatment experienced by Black collegians and the high barriers to service they face (DeFreitas, 2018). An embedded counselor model in identity-based/cultural centers can provide accessible services in a safe space. In this presentation, we will share background and theory, practical strategies to support implementation, and preliminary qualitative and quantitative findings from evaluating this model. We highlight the services provided within our Black student center, though this model is applicable to many settings. The presentation will explore the potential for embedded counseling within cultural centers to help destigmatize mental health, promote mental health awareness, and increase access to mental health services for vulnerable populations.
Collaborations within the university campus to provide programming to support international students
Abstract: Research has shown that international students utilize university counseling centers at lower rates than domestic students (Hwang, Bennett, & Beauchemin, 2014; Williams, Case, & Roberts, 2018). Suggested reasons for the low utilization include: lack of knowledge of available services, perceived lack of need, stigma of seeking professional help, and lack of culturally appropriate services. There have been recommendations for mental health providers to provide outreach programs that increase awareness of services for psychological issues, partner with other university offices and student organizations to show greater visibility, and provide intentional ways to support international students at the institutional level (Brinson & Kottler, 1995; Kim, Oh, & Mumbauer, 2019). This session will focus on intentional ways for mental health clinicians to support international students through partnerships with campus offices. These partnerships foster sharing of resources and ideas, distributing crucial information, and allows for a comprehensive approach to meet international students' needs. International students reported a greater need for a positive campus climate and sense of belonging, which ultimately influences their adjustment and retention at the university. Through campus collaborations, supportive programs can serve to buffer adverse experiences related to cultural adjustment and reach those who may not seek help.
Reclaiming the Role of the Clinician-Outreacher by Incorporating Health Promotion Theories in Outreach Practice
Abstract: In defining the "clinician-outreacher," Glass (2020) noted the importance of providing programming and community-level interventions that mimic elements of therapeutic experiences, a role best suited for trained mental health professionals. However, the practice of mental health outreach involves health promotion; indeed, the "setting approach" described in the Okanagan Charter (2015) has proven an important one in embedding health, including mental health, awareness in all aspects of campus culture through collaboration among allied health-promoting campus offices (Bachert, WÃ¤sche, Albrecht, Hildebrand, Kunz, & Woll, 2021). As such, the clinician-outreacher would benefit from being aware of health promotion theories (e.g., Theory of Reasoned Action, Fishbein & Ajzen, 1967; Social Learning Theory; Bandura, 1986), many of which derive from the study of psychology and mental health counseling. This presentation will review several popular health promotion theories and their applicability to the practice of providing mental health outreach. It will utilize the seminal resource surveying health promotion theories: Theories at a Glance: A Guide for Health Promotion Practice (2005; citation below). Examples of applying the theories to contemporary outreach practice will be provided.
1:30 - 2:30 PM
Transforming QPR Training to Meet An Inclusive World
Abstract: QPR Suicide Prevention Training is an evidence based emergency mental health intervention that is included in SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices. The mission of QPR is to minimize suicidality and providing practical skills to help save lives through effective suicide prevention training. Currently, QPR offers a general suicide prevention training with diverse cultures and use within the LGBTQ community. Given the additional risk factors that apply to marginalized communities, these specialized trainings are essential in any suicide prevention training plan. Transforming QPR Training to Meet An Inclusive World will explore one university's use of these specialized trainings and will discuss some of the advantages and obstacles when facilitating these trainings.
Nurturing Minority Wellness: The Development of a Culturally Informed Mental Health and Wellness program
Abstract: Students of color face challenges distinct from their White peers due to their identities, particularly at a predominantly White institution. Factors including navigating discrimination, difficulty finding identity, and vicarious trauma put students of color at a greater risk for loneliness, anxiety, depression, trauma related disorders, and other serious mental health concerns. However, students of color are less likely to receive adequate treatment and support due to a lack of education about mental health, barriers to access, mental health stigma, and lack of cultural competence and action by UCC providers. Thus, it is vital that mental health professionals consider ways to bring their advocacy outside of the counseling center space and prioritize the needs of their marginalized students. This presentation will focus on the development of the Nurturing Minority Wellness program (NMW) at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Developed by Student Health and Wellbeing, NMW centers a holistic view to support the mental health and wellness needs of students of color at a predominantly White institution. In this presentation, participants will learn about the development of the program and how to prioritize student perspectives in advocacy work at a university setting.
Turning Tragedy into Action
Abstract: This session will focus on the creation of a community-driven effort that focuses on issues of social justice that came out a tragic student death. After sharing some historical context of the tragic student death, we will take you through the process of how Social Justice Week was created and implemented into a program that aims to offer original programming that adheres to values of equity and justice and engages the campus community in learning activities and dialogue centered on the issues of social justice. We will explore how the whole university community â€“ faculty, staff and students â€“ can collaborate and engage in creating brave spaces that challenge white supremacy and racism, among other forms of oppression, and to create a starting point from which meaningful dialogue and action can be created for the entire university community.
Leading With Outreach: The Role of Outreach in Guiding the Future of Counseling Centers in Higher Education
Abstract: The post-pandemic landscape of college counseling centers dramatically different than just a few years ago, including increase reliance on outside vendors and reorganizations of mental health services. In many ways, this is a very vulnerable time for counseling center outreach. This program will introduce a narrative and strategy for leading with outreach, to help assert the importance of outreach to help re-establish the importance of counseling centers, not only for campus mental health but also for higher education, in general. A vision of outreach will be offered, and examples of materials and frameworks will be offered to provide outreach directors with guidance on how to lead their centers and their campuses in the coming years by asserting specific roles and functions of outreach to not only support counseling center work but also help to define the value of centers on college campuses.