Speak Out campaign promotes mental health treatments

Speak Out campaign promotes mental health treatments

UNT Food Day event was held in the library mall on Thursday afternoon. The event focused on showcasing affordable, sustainable and healthy foods. Photo by Sarah Kasprzyk / Contributing Photographer

Speak Out campaign promotes mental health treatments
September 15
21:04 2015

Lisa Dreher | Staff Writer 

@lisa_dreher97

UNT, like most higher education institutions, has made it a priority to give proper care to students who suffer from depression or experience suicidal thoughts.

National Suicide Week was last week, but some groups on campus have planned events for later this month. The UNT Health Expo, scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 23 in the Library Mall, will showcase vendors and bring departments together to discuss the well-being of the student body.

Launched by the Mental Health Task Force in 2014, the Speak Out campaign makes qualitative observations to treat mental illnesses.

“We’ve seen a steep increase in a number of crises related to students suffering from mental health-related issues,” Theresa McKinney, assistant vice president for student affairs, said. “Many of our students, particularly those who had suicidal idealization or actually made attempts at suicide, never even went to our counseling center. They never reached out for assistance.”

According to the spring 2014 Reference Group Executive Summary by the National College Health Assessment, 33.5 percent of 79,266 students felt so depressed it was difficult to function, while 5.2 percent seriously considered suicide in the last 12 months measured in the survey.

The Speak Out campaign aims to end the stigma surrounding mental health, educate the community and connect those in need of UNT’s resources.

The counseling and psychiatry clinic in the Health and Wellness Center, Dean of Students Office and psychology clinic provide assessment and treatment for students who need it.

Both the CARE Team and Mental Health Task Force work with such departments, along with police and faculty, on suicide prevention and depression treatment. They are available every day for referrals to mental health professionals.

“Last year we had over 200 referrals,” said Dr. Maureen McGuinness, dean of students and member of the CARE Team.

In addition, the non-profit psychology clinic in Terrill Hall provides professional training, conducts scientific research and serves community members. Licensed psychologists, including doctorate-level students, perform therapy and tests.

Speak Out provides other programs and activities. With Counseling and Testing, the QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer) suicide prevention training will occur every second Thursday of the month in Chestnut Hall. Students may call the counseling center to reserve a seat in the training. Green Zone Training for veteran students and a Sexual Assault Survivor Advocacy program are also provided by Speak Out.

For upcoming events, visit speakout.unt.edu. Dr. McKinney encourages openness when mental health is often shushed in society.

“We want to increase bystander intervention,” Dr. McKinney said. “And so if you see someone in distress, or you yourself are suffering from a condition and you need help, you can speak out.”

Featured Image: File Photo

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