Report says colleges need more mental health professionals

Saturday, February 16th 2008, 11:23 pm
By: News 9


A state-funded task force says Oklahoma universities need to do more to be ready to deal with campus emergencies.

The Campus Life and Safety and Security Task Force put the report together in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings. After months of research, the taskforce says Oklahoma schools are significantly understaffed when it comes to mental health professionals.

According to the report, only 77 percent of universities in the state have mental health professionals on staff.

Michael Brose, who heads the Tulsa Mental Health Association, would like to see that increased to 100 percent.  He said that medication and therapy are the best ways to prevent students with mental problems from acting out.      

Brose says, as was the case with the Virginia Tech shooter, there are usually warning signs.  And with better mental health systems in place on campus, students can get the help they need.

"When they're in treatment, medication and or talking therapy, and connected to someone.  We know that these incidents simply don't occur," Brose said.

The report suggests training all staff and faculty about how to recognize troubled behavior, and how to intervene to help those students.

The report also recommends creating more peer support groups for students with mental health problems.