Colorado Mountain College earns Healthy Minds designation for mental health work
Colorado Mountain College was recently recognized with five other schools in the state for its work on mental health.
The Colorado Department of Higher Education awarded CMC a Healthy Minds designation, recognizing efforts to address the mental health needs of students.
The school had to demonstrate the implementation in two programs across each category of access, awareness and prevention, plus four core programs. CMC said it submitted an 11-page report to the state for its candidacy. According to the school, it is the only dual-mission — offering certificates and associate’s degrees in addition to bachelor’s — to receive the designation.
“Colorado Mountain College has been actively engaged in these efforts for at least a decade,” Associate Dean for Student Affairs at Spring Valley and Glenwood Springs campuses Lisa Runck said. “When we provide support for the student, we’re not only helping our student, but possibly that student’s family and the larger community. The ripple effect creates positive outcomes in many ways.”
The school takes measures on both collegewide and individual levels. An online platform called YOU@CMC provides confidential tips and tools for managing mental and physical health. Faculty is also trained on addressing wellness issues and making referrals. The school collectively participates in events during September and October to promote well-being.
Locally, the Spring Valley and Glenwood Center campuses have a mental wealth and wellness committee composed of staff, faculty and administration.
Kim Harding, a science professor, incorporates a program called Ascend and Transcend into her classes.
In Rifle, monthly student success seminars focus on self care and organization. The campus also holds peer mentoring sessions, as does Spring Valley and Glenwood.
The four core programs mandated for designation were the inclusion of mental health services information on syllabi and student IDs, offer prevention programs with the intention of improving mental health in specific criteria, hold one awareness event each year and, lastly, providing avenues to access online mental health support or connect students to community resources.
The Healthy Minds designation was created by Gov. Jared Polis earlier in the year in conjunction with the Hunger Free designation. The goal of both is to promote stability for students in higher education.
Four schools — Colorado State University, Colorado State University Pueblo, Fort Lewis College and Metropolitan State University of Denver — earned the first round of designations in June.
“It’s so important that Colorado higher-education institutions are stepping up to help their students and communities and we encourage others to do the same,” Polis said. “Colorado is breaking down barriers and stigmas and making it easier for students to focus on learning by providing mental health services.”
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Carrie Besnette Hauser considers her position as president of Colorado Mountain College to be a dream job.