Jan. 13, 2012
After four years of working with students on new drug and alcohol prevention programs, the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services reports a drastic change has come about with students drug and alcohol use at Shawnee State University.
In 2007, the counseling staff noticed a considerable increase in alcohol-related clients. While gathering information, they also gathered data on student marijuana use. One group seemed to be in the highest risk of hazardous drinking – student athletes.
The counseling staff developed a comprehensive program to reduce the frequency of hazardous alcohol consumption and a double-pronged, multi-year program was adopted based on recommendations from the National Institute of Health.
Decreases in frequency and quantity of alcohol and drug use, decreased suicidal thoughts, and decreased physical and sexual assault are the results of the training. Some of the quantitative data and facts from 2008 and 2011 are:
Strict enforcement of alcohol policy is adhered to at SSU. That includes notifying parents about infractions. Trends in alcohol use are monitored annually.
One training class is the Educational Orientation for new athletes focused on responsible alcohol use, reducing stress and depression, and preventing sexual assault.
The counseling staff developed another training program for resident advisors to help them when they face problems with student residents. The training consists of scenarios developed from actual events over the past few years with suicide attempts, and alcohol and drug use problems, among others.
Out of the new program development, two new counselors have been added to the center's staff, Alan Siebel, chemical dependency counselor, and Jessica Priode, clinical counselor.
Because of the research and training programs the staff developed, Dr. Linda Koenig, clinical counselor, proposed two different presentations for the NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education Mental Health Conference January 19-21, in Atlanta, Ga.
"We are very pleased to be invited to present at the conference," Koenig said. "These programs reflect the creativity and dedication of SSU's staff toward healthy student development as well as the collaborative spirit of our staff and faculty without whom success would not have been possible."
NASPA accepted both proposals, "Violence and Violence Prevention: Experiential Training for Resident Advisors" and "Alcohol Intervention with Athletes: Policy, Population and Person." Koenig and Siebel will be presenting the programs at the conference.
"I am very excited for the Counseling and Psychological Services staff because it is very difficult to align policy, assessment, research and learning outcomes. Our peer reviewers agree we have something to share that can be replicated at other campuses," said Dr. Mary Oling-Sisay, vice president of Student Affairs. "As a long time national program reviewer for NASPA, I know how competitive these get based on the sheer number of proposals received, so this is a big deal."