Weekly Snapshot Archives
July 17, 2019
In this issue:
- Healthcare Facilities Preparedness: Many universities are integrated with robust healthcare facilities on campus. Some examples include the University of Alabama Hospital at Birmingham, University Medical Center at Princeton, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and the University of Vermont Medical Center. These medical centers serve the needs of patients and their families 24 hours a day, seven days a week and need to maintain a continuity of care and operations no matter the circumstances. Because of this "duty-to-care" commitment, hospitals and healthcare facilities face unique challenges when planning and responding to critical incidents.
- Alcohol and Drug Misuse, Suicide, and Millennials: In June, Trust for America's Health (TFAH), a nonprofit, nonpartisan public health policy, research, and advocacy organization, and the Well Being Trust (WBT), a national foundation dedicated to advancing the mental, social, and spiritual health of the nation, released the issue brief Alcohol and Drug Misuse and Suicide and the Millennial Generation - A Devastating Report. TFAH and WBT have called for immediate and sustained attention and investment in a national resilience strategy to address the rising death toll of Americans from alcohol- and drug-induced fatalities and suicide.
July 10, 2019
In this issue:
- Minority Mental Health Awareness Month: July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, an observance that was announced by the U.S. House of Representatives in May 2008 and officially named for Bebe Moore Campbell, an author, advocate, co-founder of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Urban Los Angeles, and national spokesperson who passed away in November 2006 from cancer. She received NAMI's 2003 Outstanding Media Award for Literature and advocated for mental health education and support among individuals of diverse communities.
- Alcohol Policies on Campus: If a college or university receives federal funds, they are required by law to have alcohol policies posted on their websites and distributed to students and employees. A recent review by researchers from the Maryland Collaborative sought to answer some important questions about alcohol policies at institutions of higher education (IHEs), including 1) are they easy to find, 2) can students understand them, and 3) are they effective at curbing or eliminating underage and binge drinking?
July 3, 2019
In this issue:
- Security of Soft Targets and Crowded Places: Soft targets and crowded places are typically defined as locations or environments that are easily accessible, attract large numbers of people on a predictable or semi-predictable basis, and may be vulnerable to attacks using simple tactics and readily available weapons. This includes schools, parks, restaurants, shopping centers, special event venues, and transportation systems. These types of environments are increasingly appealing to terrorists and other extremist actors because of their relative accessibility and the large number of potential targets. The challenge of securing these environments and reducing risk is complicated by the common use of simple tactics and less sophisticated attacks.
- New Campus Resilience Program Exercise Starter Kits Available: Last month, the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Academic Engagement (OAE) released four new Exercise Starter Kits (ESKs) as part of the Campus Resilience (CR) Program. The new starter kits focus on the following scenarios: improvised explosive device, hazardous material release, tornado, and earthquake.
June 26, 2019
In this issue:
- SUNY Announces New SPARC Upgrade: In 2019, the State University of New York (SUNY), in collaboration with the City University of New York (CUNY), launched a significant upgrade to the Sexual and Interpersonal Violence Prevention and Response Course (SPARC), an online training system to assist colleges and universities in training students, especially more difficult to reach or underserved populations including non-traditional, distance education, part-time, and military students.
- Safety Tips for the July 4th Holiday: Although some colleges and universities are closed for the summer, many have summer programs, courses, or year-round schedules that mean students are on campus during the summer months. It's important to share safety tips with your campus community for the July Fourth holiday, especially since fireworks, heat, impaired driving, and other risks go hand-in-hand.
June 19, 2019
In this issue:
- PTSD Awareness: June is PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) Awareness Month and June 27 is PTSD Awareness Day, originally designated by the U.S. Senate in 2014 and 2010, respectively. PTSD is a mental health problem that some people may develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event such as military combat, sexual assault, a natural disaster, or a car accident. For some people, incidents like these evoke upsetting memories or create problems returning to their normal routine for several weeks or months. Not every person develops chronic (ongoing) or acute (short-term) PTSD, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD.
- Have You Applied for HSIN Access?: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is committed to sharing timely, relevant, and accurate information with its campus safety and law enforcement partners. Members of these communities raised questions about access to intelligence and analytical products, noting that these items are essential for maintaining situational awareness and safety. To meet these needs, the Office of Partnership and Engagement/Office for State and Local Law Enforcement, with assistance from the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis, is facilitating requests for Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) membership for interested campus safety/police departments.
June 12, 2019
In this issue:
- Ten Keys to Improving Emergency Alerts, Warnings & Notifications: In April 2019, SAFECOM and the National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators, in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, developed the Ten Keys to Improving Emergency Alerts, Warnings, and Notifications as recommendations to help organizations enhance critical information sharing. This is inclusive of information on emergency alerts, warnings, and notification (AWN) systems that help protect lives and property by identifying information about an impending threat, communicating that information to those who need it, and facilitating the timely taking of protective actions. The Ten Keys are recommended for integration into the existing structures of all alert originators, such as campus public safety and police departments, partners, and stakeholders.
- Police-Mental Health Collaborations: Six Questions to Ask: Police officers are increasingly asked to respond to calls for service involving people who may be experiencing a mental health crisis or other mental health need. They may be the first, and only, responder on the scene of a situation that can be more complex and time-consuming than many officers are trained to address. Police departments are increasingly reaching out to those in the behavioral health system, a promising trend and one that has historically highlighted the pervasive gap in mental health services. This is particularly true across college and university campuses where the exponential growth of students suffering from anxiety and depression continues to grow and outpaces clinical services and counseling staff available.
June 5, 2019
In this issue:
- Student Anxiety Continues to Rise, Part 2: Campus Response: Last week in "Student Anxiety Continues to Rise, Part 1: The Data," we examined recent preliminary findings from researchers at the University of California Berkeley Institute for the Future of Young Americans at the Goldman School of Public Policy that found the percent of students who reported being diagnosed or treated for anxiety disorder in the last 12 months doubled between 2008 and 2016 from 10 to 20 percent. This week, we take a look at how colleges and universities have been responding to the increase in student mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
- Food Insecurity on Campus: Discussions regarding the affordability of a higher education degree generally include the amount of financial aid students and families qualify for, rising tuition costs, student loan debt, and the amount of money people have available to use for education. These are the high costs, and while an important part of the conversation, aren't representative of the whole picture. For many students, the affordability of attending a college or university also comes down to questions about their daily basic needs such as: Can I afford something to eat today?
May 29, 2019
In this issue:
- LGBT Pride Month: Supporting Transgender People on Campus: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month (LGBT Pride Month) is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall uprising in Greenwich Village and recognize the impact that LGBT individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally. While June is outside of the typical academic calendar for the majority of college and university students, many activities and events are held on or near campuses. The month of observation also serves as an opportunity for colleges and universities to review their efforts to support the variety of people living, working, and studying in their communities.
- Student Anxiety Continues to Rise, Part 1: The Data: Anxiety disorder among college students continues to rise, according to preliminary findings from researchers at the University of California (UC) Berkeley Institute for the Future of Young Americans at the Goldman School of Public Policy. The two-page release, Anxiety Disorder on College Campuses: The New Epidemic, found that nationally the percent of students who reported being diagnosed or treated for anxiety disorder in the last 12 months doubled between 2008 and 2016 from 10 to 20 percent. This confirms annual findings from the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors that anxiety continues to be the most frequent concern amongst college students.
May 22, 2019
In this issue:
- The National Domestic Preparedness Consortium Focuses on Campus Safety: The National Domestic Preparedness Consortium (NDPC), a professional alliance sponsored through the Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency National Preparedness Directorate, released its 2018 annual report. Since 1998, NDPC has provided no-cost training to nearly 3 million emergency responders across state, local, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions. This year's report primarily focuses on school and campus safety and natural disasters.
- June is National Safety Month: Preventable injury-related deaths have increased since 2012 and are now the third leading cause of death in the U.S. behind heart disease and cancer for all age groups, and the leading cause of death for those aged 1 to 44. The National Safety Council is focused on saving lives and preventing injuries, including raising public awareness about the opioid epidemic, helping to reduce motor vehicle crashes, and improving safety practices in the workplace. National Safety Month, observed annually in June, focuses on reducing the leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road, and in our homes and communities.
May 15, 2019
In this issue:
- Department of Justice Releases Reports on Improving Officer Safety and Wellness: On April 17, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the publication of two complementary reports that focus on improving the safety and wellness of the nation's 800,000 law enforcement officers. The reports, Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act: Report to Congress and Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Programs: Eleven Case Studies, are the result of the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act, which was passed in 2017 and requires the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services to submit reports to Congress.
- National Military Appreciation Month: There are numerous services available to military members, both active and reserve, and taking time to highlight these tools to enable campuses to provide support to this population is an important part of National Military Appreciation Month. The following resources can be added to the growing list of valuable information on this topic that we have highlighted in the previous Weekly Snapshot articles: "Supporting Student Veterans on Campus" and "Recognizing and Supporting Military Members and Veterans on Campus."