Colorado Mountain College was recently recognized along with five other schools in the state for its work in mental health.
The Colorado Department of Higher Education has awarded CMC a Healthy Minds designation, recognizing efforts to meet the mental health needs of students.
The school was to demonstrate the implementation of two programs in each category of access, awareness and prevention, as well as four core programs. CMC said it submitted an 11-page report to the state for its candidacy. According to the school, this is the only dual mission – offering certificates and associate’s degrees in addition to the bachelor’s degree – to receive the designation.
“Colorado Mountain College has been actively involved in these efforts for at least a decade,” said Lisa Runck, associate dean of student affairs for the Spring Valley and Glenwood Springs campuses. “When we support the student, we are not only helping our student, but possibly their family and the community at large. The ripple effect creates positive results in many ways.
The school takes action at both the college and individual level. An online platform called YOU @ CMC provides confidential tips and tools for managing mental and physical health. Faculty are also trained to address wellness issues and make referrals. The school collectively participates in events in September and October to promote wellness.
Locally, the Spring Valley and Glenwood Center campuses have a Mental Wealth and Well-Being Committee made up of staff, faculty, and administration.
Kim Harding, a science teacher, incorporates a program called Ascend and Transcend into her classes.
In Rifle, monthly student success seminars focus on self-care and organization. The campus also hosts peer mentoring sessions, as does Spring Valley and Glenwood.
The four core programs mandated for the designation were the inclusion of information about mental health services in curricula and student ID cards, the provision of prevention programs with the aim of improving mental health according to specific criteria, the holding of an awareness-raising event each year and, finally, the provision of online means of access. mental health support or connect students with community resources.
The Healthy Minds designation was created by Governor Jared Polis earlier this year in conjunction with the Hunger Free designation. The aim of both is to promote stability for higher education students.
Four schools – Colorado State University, Colorado State University Pueblo, Fort Lewis College, and Metropolitan State University of Denver – received the first round of designations in June.
“It’s so important that Colorado’s higher education institutions stand up to help their students and their communities and we encourage others to do the same,” Polis said. “Colorado breaks down barriers and stigma and makes it easier for students to focus on learning by providing mental health services.”