Counselor-In-Residence; University of Rhode Island; mental health; behavioral health; CIR; URI
The demand for mental and behavioral health services on college campuse is growing. While current models of health and counseling centers encourage that students seek help, the stigma associated with seeking care for mental and behavioral health issues can often discourage students from doing so. As a result, many are not seeking care when they should or are waiting until their problems have grown severe.
With the hopes of addressing this problem, a new model has come into fruition. The Counselor-In-Residence (CIR) model revolves around placing counseling representatives directly in the residence halls in order to offer more opportunities for possible assessment, treatment and referral for students with mental and behavioral health issues. It is thought that by placing these services directly into the residence halls the CIR model will provide more familiarity with the counselors, reduce barriers to access, and reduce the stigma associated with going to the counseling center or health services for these issues. Evidence from universities that have implemented this model shows that students see visiting a CIR as less intimidating than visiting the counseling center.
The current project represents one of the first important steps in program development. The goal of the current study is twofold; first, to learn about the attitudes and experiences toward mental and behavioral health needs and treatment options for undergraduates at the University of Rhode Island (URI), and two, to present the CIR model to learn about participant attitudes, pros, cons, and barriers toward implementing the CIR model at URI. We will address these issues in three key stakeholder groups: 1) campus leaders (faculty and staff ) who have a stake in the health and welfare of undergraduates, 2) undergraduate students who have lived in the residence halls, and 3) graduate students in Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies who might serve as the CIR’s. Results will allow it to become clear if URI is interested in implementing the CIR model, and if so, how it might need to be adapted to be suitable for use at URI specifically.