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CAMPUS LIFE AND SAFETY AND SECURITY (CLASS) TASK FORCE 2008 fINAL Report 

Subcommittee Reports - Counseling

Scope of Work
Current Assessment
Counseling Recommendations
Recommendations to Other Subommittees
Resources


Scope of Work
The charge of the Counseling Subcommittee is to review and evaluate current methods for identifying and counseling troubled students/employees and make recommendations as needed.

During the initial CLASS meeting, Dr. Roger Webb, president of the University of Central Oklahoma, posed a great question to task force members: Should the CLASS Task Force focus on incidents that occur with greater frequency (such as alcohol-fueled violence, chemical dependency and student depression) but typically have limited impact on the campus community or on high-impact incidents (such as the shootings at Virginia Tech) that are rare by all standards but create incredible heartache and disruption? The Counseling Subcommittee has chosen to consider both because, if left unchecked, students dealing with acute or chronic alcohol and drug abuse, untreated mental illness and other serious problems may have a greater propensity for violence.

If there was any clear message in the reports on the shootings at Virginia Tech, college and university staff must attend to students in crisis in a timely and professional manner not only to help the person involved, but to also help protect the larger community. Our committee focused on the availability and training of campus mental health professionals, community referral resources and partnerships with other campus constituents in recognizing and responding to students in distress.

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Current Assessment

1. Oklahoma is in a mental health crisis. Campus and community counseling resources are inadequate to serve either students or staff in need.

Due to inadequate funding, the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) restricts its services to those individuals who are 18 years of age and older, have incomes less than 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines and have a critical need. Individuals with depression classified as less than severe, adjustment issues or symptoms other than severely incapacitating are typically not provided services due to this lack of funding. ODMHSAS always provides mental health services for those in crisis or those who display suicidal or homicidal ideations.

These services are provided through 15 community mental health centers (CMHC) and their satellites which cover all areas of the state. With that said, CMHCs provided more than $1.5 million in charitable services last year, over and above their contract, for which there was no funding.

We know that Oklahoma has the highest prevalence rate of mental illness in the country, at 11.4 percent. The National Institute of Mental Health found that, unlike most disabling physical diseases, mental disorders are the chronic diseases of the young. Half of all lifetime cases begin by age 14; three-quarters (3/4) have begun by age 24. Persons with mental illness have an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, obesity and associated organ failure. Research indicates that people with mental illness die, on average, 25 years younger than people without mental illness.

In Oklahoma, an estimated 215,296 low-income adults are in need of mental health and/or substance abuse treatment each year. Of this number only one-third (1/3) receive services that are provided or funded by ODMHSAS or the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. Treatment for addiction and mental illness is as successful as treatment for other chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma. Most importantly, prevention, early intervention and treatment help return the individual to productive functioning in the family, workplace and community (Carrie Slatton-Hodges, Deputy Commissioner of Mental Health).

2. Many colleges and universities, especially small campuses in rural communities and career technology campuses, have no or too few professionally trained counselors.

The counseling survey results show that most “counselors” serve as academic counselors and are not trained to recognize, diagnose or treat forms of mental illness or drug and alcohol abuse or addiction. The counseling survey respondents noted 427 academic counselors on campuses statewide, (typically with a bachelor’s degree) but only 57 licensed professional counselors working in higher education statewide and only six licensed and four certified alcohol and drug counselors working in our career technology centers, colleges and universities. While Oklahoma colleges on average graduate 103 students with counseling or related degrees per year, many of these new social workers choose to work outside higher education.

Oklahoma university graduate preparation programs do not produce enough counselors to meet current demand, much less future demand. These programs must be expanded. Initiatives may need to be offered to meet demand.

University
Degree Program
Degree Code
Program
Code
CIP
Five-year average of degrees conferred
University of Oklahoma Ph.D. - Counseling Psych
04
040
420601
6.0
Ph.D. - INST PSY & Tech
04
056
421801
2.6
MS - Psychology
02
195
420101
7.8
Ph.D. - Psychology
04
196
420101
6.0
MSW - Social Work
02
211
440701
103.8
Northeastern State University MS - Counseling Psych
02
019
420601
22.4
Oklahoma State University MS - Ed. Psych
02
068
421707
15.2
Ph.D. - Ed. Psych
04
070
421701
15.6
MS - Psychology
02
177
420101
7.6
Ph.D. - Psychology
04
178
420101
7.2
Northwestern Oklahoma State University Counseling Psychology
02
043
420601
11.4
Southwestern Oklahoma State University School Psychology
02
148
421701
0.4
University of Central Oklahoma MA - Psychology
02
171
420101
18.0

Drug and alcohol counselors will need to be licensed, rather than just certified, by 2010. While current practitioners may be grandfathered in, counselor education in this specialty is woefully inadequate. Southwestern Oklahoma State University has a new program for drug and alcohol counseling at the graduate level. Oklahoma State University is developing plans for a drug and alcohol counselor licensure program. By way of example, new funding needed for this academic program is $90,000.

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Counseling Recommendations

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Recommendations to Other Subcommittees

Laws and Policies

Funding

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Resources
The Counseling Subcommittee has gathered numerous articles and documents that we believe will be of value to higher education practitioners across Oklahoma. They focus attention on best practices and research conducted on violence, alcohol and drug abuse, counselor intervention, clarification of laws and policies related to emergency situations, threat assessment and related topics.

Preventing violence in higher education: a review of the literature
Research on school-based violence prevention programs has almost exclusively focused on primary and secondary education settings or, if in higher education, has focused predominately on sexual assault prevention. The existing literature on violence prevention in higher education is mostly limited to recommendations and descriptions of exemplary prevention programs. The following publications offer recommendations for preventing violence on college campuses:

• Prothrow-Smith, D. (2007). Keynote Address: Making campuses safer communities for students.

Resource List

Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Resources from College Campuses

Lessons from Virginia Tech

Response in the Aftermath of a Campus Crisis

Additional Professional Publications and Campus Safety Resources

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