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April 15, 2010 - CLASS Task Force Kicks Off Mental Health Collaborative Week   RSS feed

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Higher education, career technology centers and community mental health centers collaborate to enhance mental health services to students

As students face increased pressures in their academic and personal lives, it is more important than ever to ensure they have access to mental health services.

Mental Health Collaborative Week, April 19-23, is a coordinated statewide effort among higher education institutions, career technology centers and community mental health centers. Mental health and counseling professionals will meet with their regional partners face-to-face, through video conference or teleconference to identify opportunities to collaborate and combine resources to enhance mental health services available on postsecondary campuses.

According to the Campus Life and Safety and Security (CLASS) Task Force 2008 Final Report, Oklahoma has the highest prevalence rate of mental illness in the country. The National Institute of Mental Health found that mental disorders are the chronic disease of the young.

Many colleges and universities in Oklahoma, especially small campuses in rural communities and career technology campuses, have limited counseling resources. According to a 2009 CLASS survey of postsecondary institutions in Oklahoma, nearly half listed the need for more mental health counselors on campus.

Mental Health Collaborative Week is an initiative of the CLASS Task Force. Formed in 2007 at the request of Gov. Brad Henry following the tragedy on the Virginia Tech campus, the purpose of the task force is to review and evaluate current safety and security plans and student counseling services already in place for higher education and career technology institutions and to make recommendations for any needed changes.