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In an effort to better support the well-being of our campus community, Elmira College is taking part in an innovative pilot program with five other New York colleges and universities. The program will bring the Consortium on Trauma, Illness, & Grief (TIG) to Elmira and Nazareth College, St. John Fisher University, SUNY Brockport, Northeast College of Health Sciences, and Le Moyne College.
Elmira and the other higher education institutions already support the mental health and wellness of their students through individual counseling models, student engagement, and other initiatives. However, this is the first inter-institutional model that supports the mental health and wellness of students, faculty, and staff. The TIG in Higher Education initiative, which launched in the spring, is a partnership with the Upstate New York College Collaboration (UNYCC) and Coordinated Care Services, Inc., (CCSI), the organization that delivers the trauma response program to assist institutions in effectively responding to the challenges facing students and campuses more broadly.
"I advocated for this intensive training for Campus Life staff so that, as a team, we could collaborate more closely with other higher education institutions to expand our breadth of resources to better support the needs of our students who may be experiencing a crisis related to trauma, chronic illness, and grief," said Elizabeth Lambert, Vice President of Campus Life and Dean of Students at Elmira College.
One major goal of the pilot experience includes the formation of a UNYCC working group that is trained in, and adopts, TIG’s strategy of sharing resources to benefit participating institutions beyond what could be achieved individually. Additionally, as a result of this pilot experience, these colleges and universities will have developed the capacity to diminish the impact of significant events in higher education environments.
To participate, each college and university designated a team of up to 10 professionals who participated in a 40-hour training series that includes evidence-based crisis response skills. Six Elmira College employees attended and the inaugural higher ed group finished training this summer. The TIG approach is based on a trauma-informed response model that teaches the participants how to be aware of trauma, illness, and grief on a larger scale. The modules include grief and loss, trauma, suicide risk and intervention, chronic and acute illness, school violence, TIG implementation, and critical incident stress management. For more information, visit tigconsortium.org.
"It has been great to take the content and information learned from the TIG training and be able to implement the model into our campus,” said Jaime Panos M.S. ’18, Assistant Dean of Students at Elmira College. “The Residence Life team has been able to implement a new debrief model for all of our resident assistants and professional staff members after handling traumatic and stressful situations on campus. And the team of administrators who attended the training continues to look for more ways we can implement this training to better support our student population."