Colleges Boost Mental Health Counseling After Tucson


College mental health workers report greater concern about disruptive students since the mass shooting in Tucson, resulting in calls from faculty, requests for special training, and reassessments of campus procedures, reports USA Today. Faculty members are seeking advice on dealing with disruptive outbursts and intimidating behavior, says Brian Van Brunt, president of the American College Counseling Association. Jared Loughner, 22, who is accused of six killings on Jan. 8, was attending Pima Community College when he was banned from campus for outbursts that scared students and teachers.

At Western Kentucky University, where Van Brunt is director of counseling, staffers “are looking at what would we do if we had a similar case,” he says. His university has three or four students a year who exhibit a worrisome combination of self-isolation and simmering aggression, he says, and they're required to accept treatment on campus as a condition of staying in school. Several schools are expanding mental health services, says Brett Sokolow of the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association. Many colleges added behavioral intervention teams after the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, when Seung Hui Cho killed 33 people, including himself. Teams of counselors, teachers and campus police meet regularly to track complaints about disturbing behavior from instructors, dormitory workers, and others. The team assesses the threat and coordinates action.


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