Student affairs and health care staff copresent at NASPA Mental Health Conference

Jan 14, 2015

North Central College staff members Tatiana Sifri, director of the Dyson Wellness Center, and Kevin McCarthy M ’10, assistant dean of students, presented a joint general interest session at the 2015 NASPA Mental Health Conference, held Jan. 11-13 in National Harbor, Md.

Their session was titled “A Collaborative Approach to Addressing Mental Health at a Small Campus—Proactive and Reactive Protocols.” Sifri and McCarthy shared current trends of student mental health concerns on small college and university campuses as well as practical information and best practices of implementing a Behavioral Intervention Team and Early Alert system, using North Central College’s experience as a case study.

As student mental health issues continue to increase nationwide, Sifri and McCarthy stressed that one of the most important and challenging aspects in assisting students in a mental health crisis is ensuring a healthy and well-integrated relationship between the student affairs office and the counseling/medical center. They also discussed things they learned as the College rolled out a restructured Behavioral Intervention Team and Early Alert system, the importance of open and regular interdepartmental communication, and examples of successful and collaborative crisis management among multiple campus offices.

NASPA, or Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, hosted the conference to offer professional development to its 13,000 members and opportunities to share innovative practices and research to promote the health and wellness of students and campus communities.

Sifri has worked at North Central College since 2009. A licensed clinical professional counselor and national certified counselor, she received her B.A. and M.A. from Naropa University.

McCarthy joined North Central’s staff in 2007. He earned his B.A. from Alma College and his M.L.S. from North Central College in 2010.