Carroll University has received a $30,000 grant from the AB Korkor Foundation for Mental Health to train College of Health Sciences faculty as Mental Health First Aid™ instructors. The effort is part of a new Mental Health Literacy (MHL) program.
The grant also will fund a pilot of a mental health-focused simulation for students in the physician assistant
, physical therapy
, occupational therapy
“Mental health literacy is an initiative for which we see a great need, and we are grateful to the AB Korkor Foundation for its support in fulfilling our mission to serve the community,” said President Cindy Gnadinger. “Our premier Health Sciences programs, faculty and students will also benefit from this specialized education.”
The Delafield-based foundation was created by Adel B. Korkor, M.D., who served as a physician for more than three decades.
“My mission, which is carried through the AB Korkor Foundation, established in 2016, is to enhance mental healthcare education across colleges and universities in our nation,” Dr. Korkor said. “My hope is that this model of education, which integrates mental health literacy into the college curriculum, becomes the accepted model in all undergraduate and postgraduate education programs across all disciplines in our colleges and universities."
Dr. Korkor said he selected Carroll for the program because it “is a highly respected institution and it is positioned to be a leader in disseminating the knowledge about the importance of implementing such programs across many other schools.”
About 280 students are expected by be trained by the end of the fall semester, said Kerri Murphy
, clinical assistant professor of physician assistant studies, who already has undergone the training. “Mental Health First Aid is a skills-based course that trains students to effectively recognize, communicate with and assist someone experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis,” she said. “This is a piece that is missing from their standard behavioral medicine and psychology education. By filling this gap in their knowledge and skill base, we intend to create more capable future providers to care for the unmet mental health needs of our community."
Murphy added that once students complete their training, they will work with “simulated patients,” who are paid actors, to practice their skills in assessing metal health challenges. After that, students plan to work with patients, likely through telehealth visits, at the Waukesha Free Clinic at Carroll University
Expected outcomes of the program are to:
- Increase mental health literacy through the completion of Mental Health First Aid coursework.
- Increase the knowledge and skill of Carroll Health Sciences students in identifying and assessing mental health disorders and working within an interprofessional team to identify appropriate treatment and professional resources.
- Reduce negative social and personal stigmas towards mental health illnesses.
- Increase students’ ability to recognize and screen patients for symptoms of mental health illnesses.
- Increase referral of patients with mental illness to the appropriate care practitioner.