Crowder Cares offers counseling services

By Megan Murphy


According to the American College Health Association, 67% of students who are struggling with mental health don’t seek treatment for their problems. Last year, Crowder created a program to help students who are dealing with these issues in the form of Crowder Cares, a counseling and referral program headed by the Behavior Intervention Team (BIT).

“We knew that we needed to find a way for folks in our campus community to report concerns. We’d been getting phone calls and e-mails, but we had no organized way to collect concerns and reach out to students who might need some help. we talked to other colleges and universities and decided this was the best model,” said Tiffany Slinkard, vice president of student affairs and BIT chair at Crowder.

The BIT uses Maxient, an online reporting system, to create a place for students to report concerning behavior that they may see in their friends or classmates. After being submitted, the report is reviewed by the BIT, who then take the appropriate steps to deal with the student, whether through in-house counseling sessions or a referral to an outside mental health professional.

The Crowder Cares team participated in Wellness Week last month, handing out stress relief devices and snow cones in the quad.

The Crowder Cares team participated in Wellness Week last month, handing out stress relief devices and snow cones in the quad.

“Basically, when a student or a faculty member in our community makes a report, that report is collected and can be shared out with someone who needs to work on that report. Once a report comes in, it shows up immediately in a person’s email, [and they are] responsible for then reading that report and assigning it to a member of our care team,” Slinkard said.

If a student’s behavior seems to pose an imminent threat to themselves or other people, however, Slinkard stated, one should call 911 or campus security.

“Many times when we reach out to the student, we are just telling them we care about them. They may be having a tough time, and [we] offer support, referrals and services both on campus and in the community,” Slinkard added.

Crowder offers in-house counseling sessions that are free and confidential for a short term, according to Slinkard. They also may refer students to an outside service or professional, who can provide counseling for a longer term.

The Behavior Intervention Team also implemented a new topic in College Orientation classes this fall. “Promoting Prevention” is a new part of the curriculum for orientation classes, and covers five main areas: alcohol abuse, substance abuse, suicide, gambling and sexual violence prevention.

In addition to Maxient, Crowder has also joined the Partners in Prevention program from the University of Missouri at Columbia, an initiative to train both students and faculty to recognize and prevent harmful behaviors on campuses. Across Missouri, 21 colleges and universities have joined the organization.

Another aspect of Partners in Prevention is Ask.Listen.Refer., a suicide prevention program with an online training component designed to train faculty and students to recognize the signs of depression and suicidal thoughts. According to the BIT’s annual report, 218 people at Crowder have completed the Ask.Listen.Refer. training through as of June 2017.

“We would encourage all students to take a look [at the online training]. We’ve asked our faculty and staff to participate in the training as well. It provides you with statistics, both national and collegiate statistics [of] suicide on campus. Most importantly, it trains and teaches someone on what to ask, say and do,” Slinkard said.

The training can be found at  and takes about 20 minutes to complete. More information as well as the Maxient reporting form can be found at