January 27, 2017

Dear Berkeley Staff,

As members in the UC Berkeley community, staff often encounter students who are experiencing psychological difficulties, and we could all use guidance on how to assist such students. A 2015 assessment of undergraduate and graduate students showed that in the past year, 35% of students felt so depressed it was difficult to function, and 57% felt overwhelming anxiety. Providing faculty and staff with the education and resources to recognize and respond can help improve student performance and prevent many concerns from escalating into crises. We may even be able to save lives.

Following the success of the Gold Folder, (https://uhs.berkeley.edu/counseling/prevention-education-outreach/gold-folder), the University of California has created a full-text handbook for faculty and staff entitled Promoting Student Mental Health: A Guide for UC Faculty and Staff. This handbook provides in-depth information about mental health and examines the role that faculty and staff members can play in providing a supportive academic environment and assisting students who may be in distress.

The guide includes examples on how to approach a student, outlines common mental health concerns, explains how to make a referral or report a student of concern, and includes an FAQ section on privacy policies. For example, the guide identifies signs of distress (p. 25), includes examples of what to say when approaching a student (p. 84), offers guidance in supporting graduate and professional students (p. 125), and provides instructional tips on what faculty and staff can do to avoid causing undue stress (p. 139).

Download the full-text guide http://www.ucop.edu/student-mental-health-resources/_files/pdf/PSMH-guide.pdf and a separate UC Berkeley resource insert http://www.ucop.edu/student-mental-health-resources/_files/pdf/PSMH-Berkeley-insert.pdf. The full-text is universal for all 10 campuses, and the insert link contains Berkeley specific resources.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) will be mailing one hard-copy of the guide to each department in the coming weeks.  If you are interested in receiving an additional hard-copy of the guide please go to the following link to make the request https://goo.gl/forms/uFcaIyU8fKCEsSMF3.  Please note that there are limited hard-copies of the guide.

Thank you for helping in the health of our community,


Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students Joseph Greenwell
Executive Director Claudia Covello (University Health Services)
Director Jeff Prince (Counseling and Psychological Services)