Marshall faculty address mental health issues, train students


Ralph May | Reporter

Claire Snyder, program coordinator of the Women’s and Gender Center, providing training for students.

There are CPR and other set procedures for the treatment of physical injuries during a crisis. The same is being made for a mental health crisis by two Marshall University faculty. 

These faculty members are some of multiple who are addressing mental health crises by changing the stigma around crises and training students how to react and assist in these situations. 

“A mental crisis may be a time that someone has a diagnosed or possibly undiagnosed mental health disorder that is severely impacting their life and ability to go about their daily activities,” program coordinator of Marshall Women’s and Gender Center Claire Snyder said.

Snyder said these crises could also be brought about by an emotional struggle and it is important that the situations are treated with the same urgency as physical.

“Emotional and psychological struggles can be just as impactful to someone’s daily life as physical struggles,” she said. “We are really good as a society about taking care of people who are injured or have an illness, and we should be just as understanding and supporting with mental illness.”

These crises are addressed through mental health first aid, which Snyder said takes a similar approach to traditional first aid.

“Just like we think of first aid CPR for physical emergencies, mental health first aid is that first response to someone who may be in need of support for mental health,” she said. 

She said the goal is for people to notice signs of mental illness, equip them with tools to have a conversation and be able to direct them to appropriate resources. 

Another aspect of this issue is changing the stigma of mental health illnesses, Michelle Biggs, student advocate and success specialist, said.

“We need to work together to decrease the stigma around mental illness so we can better recognize this issue happening around us,” Biggs said. 

Snyder said she thinks this generation of students fiercely support each other and feel an immense amount of responsibility for one another which is commendable, but that can cause an immense amount of stress.

“We really want students to know what’s out there to help them and the people they care about and to feel comfortable connecting their friends to those resources,” Snyder said.

Students and faculty can reach out to either Biggs in Student Affairs or the Women’s and Gender Center for more information about these resources, Snyder said. Students can also make appointments with the Counseling Center. 

Ralph May can be contacted at [email protected]