December 14,
2016

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The Weekly Snapshot                            
Your source for the latest tips, information, and current campus safety resources from the NCCPS.                       

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Managing Student Mental Health at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

A white paper (PDF) on managing student mental health on campus was published today providing an additional resource to help inform the national dialogue on this topic. The National Center for Campus Public Safety partnered with the Historically Black Colleges and Universities-Law Enforcement Executives and Administrators to facilitate an emerging issues forum on July 12, 2016 that included 38 campus public safety executives and professionals from 28 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in 14 states. The purpose of the forum was to identify challenges and potential solutions, including available resources, to assist the HBCU community in preventing, responding to, and recovering from incidents involving students experiencing mental health concerns.

Results of the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors 2015 Annual Survey (PDF) confirm that "anxiety continues to be the most predominant and increasing concern among college students (47.3%), followed by depression (40.1%), relationship concerns (32.5%), suicidal ideation (20.2%), self-injury (12.8%), and alcohol abuse (10.6%)." Findings from the Center for Collegiate Mental Health 2015 Annual Report (PDF) indicate that while "many aspects of college student mental health have actually been stable over the past five years ... a subgroup of mental health variables have demonstrated worrisome increases ... making it clear that some specific aspects of college students' mental health are changing and in need of focused consideration."
 
These findings indicate the importance of having effective and comprehensive student mental health programs and services on campus. Many institutions of higher education (IHEs) are facing substantial challenges in meeting this demand. Those challenges, in turn, have many IHEs re-evaluating their services to prevent and intervene in incidents involving persons with mental health concerns. Participants explored these challenges during the forum and the following findings became apparent as a result of the discussion:  
  • The need for mental health services is outpacing the growth in staffing and budgets for mental health services at many HBCUs.
  • Too few campus safety officials and first responders are adequately trained in recognizing mental illnesses or responding effectively to persons in distress.
  • HBCUs need clearer policies, more uniform procedures, and broader communication efforts to manage mental health incidents more effectively and efficiently.
  • The social stigma attached to mental health is especially strong on campuses, and campus leaders exacerbate this when they do not prioritize mental health programs.
The  Managing Student Mental Health at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (PDF) forum report provides background information on student mental health, an overview of the discussion of challenges, recommendations, and an appendix of resources for institutions of higher education.  

Department of Homeland Security and Federal Communications Commission Issue Joint Jammer Bulletin and Infographic

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and law enforcement officials have noted an increase in electronic jamming activity in recent years. Although federal law prohibits the operation, manufacture, sale, marketing, importation, distribution, or shipment of jamming equipment, these devices are inexpensive and relatively easy to obtain from foreign manufacturers. Electronic jamming can intentionally, or unintentionally, interfere with responder communications equipment - leaving responders without vital communications and/or critical situational awareness, delay emergency response times, escalate hazardous situations, result in loss of life, or facilitate illicit activities. Overall, jamming devices pose a threat to local and national security, leaving first responders vulnerable.
 
The DHS Science and Technology Directorate and the FCC jointly released two products about the use of jamming technology, its potential effect on public safety, and steps being taken towards identifying and combatting electronic jamming threats:  
  • (UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY) JOINT JAMMER BULLETIN: This bulletin outlines the proactive steps being taken towards identifying and combatting electronic jamming threats and discusses initial observations and findings from the DHS First Responder Electronic Jamming Exercise that occurred July 11 - 16, 2016. The bulletin includes information on identifying, mitigating, and reporting electronic jamming. If you are currently a member of a law enforcement, campus safety, or emergency management organization, you may request a copy of the bulletin. Please send your request from your agency's email address and include your name, title, organization name, and a business telephone number in the body of the email.
  • (UNCLASSIFIED) JOINT JAMMER INFOGRAPHIC (PDF): This infographic informs of the effects of jamming and offers suggested mitigation tactics. If your department has been affected by jamming, please immediately report the suspected activity to the FCC as outlined in the infographic. 
Electronic jamming is a significant threat to first responder and public safety communications and should be taken seriously. DHS will share updated information as it becomes available, including additional details on threats, mitigation strategies, and technologies.  To learn more about the 2016 First Responder Electronic Jamming Exercise or the planned 2017 follow-on exercise, contact Jamming.Exercise@hq.dhs.gov

Download the resource list.
Active Threat Training
 
Today, campus communities are faced with numerous challenges that include increasing student mental health issues, gender and sexual violence, bias incidents, and active threat situations, defined as any incident, which by its deliberate nature creates an immediate threat or presents an imminent danger to a campus community. The solutions, or promising practices, to address these challenges can be costly, which is difficult as institutions of higher education (IHEs) face tightening budgets.
 
In June 2016, the FBI released new data from 2014 and 2015 (PDF) indicating that both the frequency and lethality of active shooter incidents had risen. In those two years, 40 separate incidents, including those on college and university campuses, occurred compared to 17 incidents in 2013, the last year of a 14-year study (PDF) released by the FBI in 2014. The incidents in 2014-15 resulted in 231 casualties - 92 killed and 139 wounded. In the 14-year study, a total of 486 people were killed and 557 wounded in 160 incidents. The FBI defines an active shooter as "one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in populated areas." This definition also assumes the shooter's use of firearms in the incident.
 
Given the increasing number and consistency of active shooter incidents, thousands of first responders, including police/law enforcement, campus public safety officials, and security officers, have undertaken active shooter or active threat trainings. These trainings evolve as best practices are updated to reflect new information that emerges from incidents. Anecdotal evidence suggests that participation in these trainings is having a positive impact on first responders.
 
Colleges and universities have different policies when it comes to educating their students, faculty, and staff about active threats on campus. Some IHEs offer voluntary training or may provide online guidance, if any information at all, while others include active shooter training as part of their mandatory orientation for incoming students. The majority of schools have mass notification or alert systems in place that use text messages, social media, or other technology that can remotely take over computers tied to campus servers to notify campus community members of an active threat.
 
We have developed a comprehensive list (PDF) of active threat trainings that include in-person trainings, webinars, videos, and online courses. The list also provides information about target audiences, length, and cost. If you are aware of additional resources that we could review for possible inclusion to this list, please contact us.

Learn more about NCAT.
NOVA Campus Advocacy Training Academy: Scholarships Available for Victim Advocates from Community Colleges

The National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) is offering a limited number of scholarships to victim advocates serving at community colleges who wish to attend the Winter 2017 NOVA Campus Advocacy Training (NCAT). The NCAT is a 20-hour distance learning training for campus victim advocates. The six-week NCAT academy provides participants with advanced training in preventing and responding to sexual assault, stalking, and interpersonal violence in higher education. The next session will run from January 18 through February 22, 2017 and class will be held every Wednesday from 12:00pm - 3:00pm ET. 
 
Interested advocates from community colleges should contact NOVA by Friday, December 16 , 2016 for more information on the scholarship program.  

Access our online calendar of events.
Professional Development Opportunities

Title: Methods of Communication in Disasters: Preparing to Receive, Provide and Act on Critical Information in Times of Crisis
Organizations: DHS's Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships and FEMA's Individual and Community Preparedness Division
Date: December 15, 2016 at 1:00PM ET
Location: Online
Fee: Free
 
Title: Leadership and Implicit Bias
Organizations: International Academy of Public Safety and National Sheriff's Association
Dates: January 10-12, 2017
Location: Exeter, RI
Fee: Registration Fee
 
Title: Campus Emergencies Prevention, Response, and Recovery (MGT-324)
Organization: National Center for Biomedical Research and Training
Dates: February 7-8, 2017
Location: Lakewood, NJ
Fee: Free

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This project was supported by Grant No. 2013-MU-BX-K011 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the US Department of Justice.
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