CAFE TAC Video: Supported Education at the University of Utah

For students with mental health issues, it can be a struggle to succeed in higher education. While all students have to deal with academic pressure and adjust to independent living, those with mental health needs must manage additional challenges related to their their health and wellness. This can be difficult to do. In fact 86% of students with mental health needs drop out.

One way that colleges and universities can reverse this trend, and help students to stay in school and graduate, is by adopting a “supported education” model. The practice of supported education entails the creation of a network of campus resources that work together to offer services and develop accommodations that are tailored to individual students’ needs.

The CAFE TA Center visited the University of Utah in the fall of 2014 to see how their supported education program functions. By speaking with professionals, faculty and the students they serve, we were able to gain a sense of how a quality program creates a culture of responsiveness and empowerment to help students succeed.

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A Focus on Depression in the Workplace

Recent surveys have determined that up to a quarter of American workers have experienced depression at some point, and nearly two-thirds have dealt with some kind of difficulty resulting from their mental health. Despite the prevalence of this issue, many employers fail to deal with it directly. Policies and procedures regarding workplace mental health are lacking, and managers are not trained in how to deal with their employees’ issues.

In Focus 39: Depression in the Workplace, CAFE TAC looks at some of the recent statistics about workplace mental health, while also examining steps that employers can take to accommodate their workers, and things workers can do to maintain their mental wellness. Read about it in Focus 39: Depression in the Workplace.


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A Focus on Transition to Higher Education for Students with Mental Health Needs

For students with mental health needs, the transition to campus life can be a major challenge. Students must adjust to living independently, take on new academic work and also manage their health and wellness. Despite the fact that most colleges and universities have some kind of support in place, an unacceptably large proportion of students with mental health needs still end up leaving campus.

In a new Focus newsletter, CAFE TAC takes a look at a pair of efforts to help both students that are transitioning to college for the first time, as well as those seeking to return to school after a health-related absence. While each of these approaches takes a different tack, both hold promise for helping students with mental health needs to succeed in higher education, and enjoy the same benefits as their typical peers. Check out Focus 38: New Models for Transition to Higher Education for Students with Mental Health Needs.

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A Focus on SAMHSA’s New Strategic Plan

Like any organization, from the largest corporation to the smallest grassroots advocacy group, our nation’s lead agency for behavioral health, SAMHSA, has a strategic plan to guide it. After more than 1,400 public comments and months of refinement, the latest version of that plan, Leading Change 2.0: Advancing the Behavioral Health of the Nation 2015-2018 has been released.

In the latest Focus newsletter, CAFE TAC takes a look under the hood of this new guiding vision for our country’s approach to behavioral health. Find out what the common themes from those who commented to SAMHSA were, and what priorities made it into the final version. This is the document that will set the course for the lead behavioral health agency for years to come, and likely influence the evolution of behavioral health care nationwide, so it’s essential for everyone in the behavioral health community to know what
it includes! Check out the new Focus here.

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A Focus on Supported Employment

People with behavioral health needs can and do participate in the labor force. With the right supports, they can succeed in the workplace, and enjoy both the economic and the social benefits of employment. The key to helping people with lived experience to move into the workforce is Supported Employment, a system that empowers consumers to find and keep competitive, well-paying jobs in integrated settings.

In the latest Focus, CAFE TAC lists the components that a quality Supported Employment program should include. We also examine new evidence that shows that Supported Employment has lasting positive benefits. By abandoning the false assumption that people with behavioral health needs are permanently disabled and cannot work, and embracing recovery-based Supported Employment, the mental health system can save money, empower people, and deliver better outcomes. Read about it in our latest Focus!

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