Program Description and Requirements

The Mental Health Ally Program is a volunteer program coordinated through the Student Counseling Service that offers education for faculty, staff, and students on how to engage students experiencing emotional or mental health concerns and refer to mental health and other support services. A recent study in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases reports that almost 80% of students with mental health concerns receive their first support from friends, family, or other non-professional sources. The Mental Health Ally Program can help volunteers be better prepared to effectively provide this natural yet invaluable link between students and the kinds of professional services they may need to achieve their goals and function at their best under the stress of college expectations. Mental Health Allies are not trained mental health counselors nor are they expected to provide mental health counseling.

Volunteers who complete program requirements will receive ongoing support regarding connecting with students in need and access to resources to share with students. They also will receive a sign and/or a button which they can display to indicate their support and availability for students struggling with emotional and mental health concerns.

Program Guidelines

The following criteria must be met in order to qualify to be a volunteer within the Mental Health Ally program:

Faculty and staff (who are not in ORL): Must complete the Mental Health First Aid training (see below), or the full QPR Gatekeeper Training (see below) plus the on-line At-Risk (see below) gatekeeper training module for faculty/staff.

Office of Residence Life Staff, including Student RA’s: Must complete the full range of Fall trainings required of professional or student staff, respectively, of the Office of Residence Life, including suicide prevention training and the Behind Closed Doors role playing experience.

Students (other than RA’s): Must complete the Mental Health First Aid Gatekeeper Training.

All Faculty, Staff, and Student volunteers: Must attend at least one Mental Health Ally consultation session or complete the on-line At-Risk gatekeeper training program each successive year as a refresher to maintain their designation.

About Mental Health First Aid

Just as CPR helps stabilize an individual who is having a heart attack — even if one has no clinical training — Mental Health First Aid helps train lay individuals to engage someone experiencing a mental health related concern. In the Mental Health First Aid course, one learns risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help. The 8-hour MHFA trainings consist of four modules, covering the topics of depression, anxiety, psychosis, and substance abuse, as well as suicidal concerns. Each module contains a description of the disorders, frequent signs and symptoms, video presentations, and small-group, interactive activities to enhance the learning process.

About QPR Gatekeeper Training

QPR Gatekeeper Training is a program that teaches the 3 simple steps that anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide: Question, Persuade, & Refer.

Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs and how to question, persuade, and refer someone for mental health or other support services.

Register for a Mental Health First Aid Training or QPR Gatekeeper Training

MHFA and QPR trainings are offered several times throughout the year. To find the times, contact:

About At-Risk Gatekeeper Training

At-Risk for College Students and the parallel version for Faculty and Staff are online, interactive programs that teach participant skills to identify signs of distress in students/friends and refer to support services when appropriate. The training takes about 30 minutes to complete and can be done from any computer at any time.

The training can be accessed by students at and by faculty/staff at using enrollment code “muohio23”.

About Consultation Sessions

All Mental Health Allies commit to attending at least one consultation session or refresher training each year. Consultation sessions are offered by Student Counseling Service staff at least twice a semester for faculty/staff and for students and are designed to provide interactive assistance for Allies in their efforts to help affected students. Mental Health Allies will receive information on upcoming consultation sessions as well as other mental health resources via the Mental Health Ally site on Canvas. Note: urgent consultation is available by phone with an SCS staff person during any weekday during normal working hours. Consultation during other than normal working hours can be accessed via the Butler County Crisis Hotline: 1-844-427-4747 or by calling 911. Refresher training opportunities such as At-Risk for faculty and staff will also be available to support Allies in their efforts to assist others.