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Mental Health and Well-being Competency

Certificate Program for Faculty

There has been an increase in students experiencing mental health distress in college and oftentimes, faculty are the first to observe these behaviors. The Mental Health and Well-being Competency Certificate program is an initiative from Student Health Services with the goal of the helping faculty members feel better equipped to respond to the growing mental health needs of students. This certificate program is designed to address the growing need of faculty preparedness in responding to this new challenge.

This training series will help faculty learn how to recognize the warning signs of distress, how to appropriately intervene and refer students in all levels of distress, how to incorporate key concepts of resilience into the curriculum, and lastly, how to respond to trauma in the classroom.

The Mental Health and Well-being Competency Certificate of Completion is designed for participants to complete in one semester. The requirements to complete the Mental Health and Well-being Competency Certificate of Completion are:

  • Support Zone Training Part 1
  • Support Zone Training Part 2 – It is recommended to take part 2 the same week as part 1
  • Resiliency in the Classroom
  • Trauma 101 Session 1
  • Trauma 101 Session 2 - It is recommended to take session 2 the same week as session 1

Faculty will receive a certificate of completion after completing all five trainings in two consecutive semesters. Any faculty member at UofSC-Columbia, Palmetto College regional campuses or USC Schools of Medicine (Greenville and Columbia) are eligible to apply for the Master Class Series.

Training Sessions

Support Zone Faculty Training

(It is strongly recommended that the required training sessions be attend in consecutive sessions during the same week.)

Support Zone Training Part 1 – September 21, 3:55 – 5:10 p.m
Support Zone Training Part 2 – September 23,  3:55 – 5:10 p.m

Support Zone Training  Part 1 – October 13, 10:05 – 11:20 a.m. 
Support Zone Training  Part 2 – October 15, 10:05 – 11:20 a.m.

Resiliency in the Classroom

Resiliency in the Classroom – September 28, 12:00 – 12:50 p.m.
Resiliency in the Classroom – October 22, 2:50 – 4:05 p.m.

Trauma 101

(It is strongly recommended that the required training sessions be attend in consecutive sessions during the same week.)

Trauma 101 Session 1 – September 15, 2:45 – 4:05 p.m.
Trauma 101 Session 2  – September 17,  2:45 – 4:05 p.m.

Trauma 101 Session 1 – October 13, 9:50  – 11:05 a.m.
Trauma 101 Session 2 – October 15, 9:50 – 11:05 a.m.

Training Sessions Descriptions

Support Zone Training

Part 1 and Part 2 (two 75-minute sessions)

The Support Zone Faculty training is a 150-minute comprehensive training that includes suicide prevention, instruction on how to recognize and respond to signs of distress in students. The goal of this two-part training is to engage faculty as mental health allies and help them learn the basic components of suicide prevention, enhance knowledge of campus mental health resources, and rapid assessment and referral of students in distress. Participants will learn how to intervene at the mild, moderate, and severe levels of distress and how to refer students to the appropriate.

Support Zone Training Part 1
The first half of the training will focus on providing context for the necessity of faculty and staff being well-versed in recognizing and responding to students experiencing mental health distress. The facilitator will review definitions, national and local statistics about mental health in college students and discuss how stigma affects help-seeking behaviors. The facilitator will also discuss how COVID-19 has exacerbated the aforementioned issues. This session will also cover crisis support protocol, how to recognize signs of distress, warning signs of suicide, non-suicidal self-injury, and how to respond and intervene to a student of concern.

Support Zone Training Part 2
The second half of the training will focus on participants learning how to refer students of concern experiencing varying levels of distress (mild, moderate and severe), what to do if a student refuses a referral, how to maintain the students’ privacy, and how to follow-up with the student. This session includes role-plays and other interactive activities to help participants practice their recently acquired skills. The facilitator will also discuss the how responding to students of concern affects faculty/staff mental health and how to respond accordingly. This session includes a review of resources specific to faculty/staff needs and tips on dealing with COVID-19 related stressors.  Lastly, the facilitator will review campus and community resources to ensure participants have a thorough understanding of what is available to students and when to use each resource.

Resiliency in the Classroom (50 minutes or 75 minutes)

The Resiliency in the Classroom training is a 50-minute training that focuses on three major components of resilience—self-compassion, dealing with failure, and coping skills and how to incorporate these components into the classroom. Resilience has been shown to be associated to academic success and psychological well-being. This session will help instructors identify how they can strengthen students’ resilience and help them adapt to change and hardships by integrating these core competencies into their curriculum.

Trauma 101

Session 1 and Session 2 (two 75-minute sessions)

With an increasing number of students entering college with traumatic experiences and considering the traumas some may encounter while in college it is important that instructors understand how to respond. Additionally, this session is particularly timely because of the various traumas students may have encountered as a result of the coronavirus.

Gamecocks attending this series will be able to:

  • Understand and describe how trauma impacts the brain (Session 1)
  • Discuss cultural factors that make talking about trauma difficult (Session 2)
  • Demonstrate supportive behaviors to others dealing with trauma (Session 2)
  • Effectively utilize personal coping skills (Session 2)

Trauma 101 Session 1 (75- minutes)
With the goal of creating a more trauma informed and responsive campus, experts from Student Health Services will discuss the neurobiological underpinnings of trauma, and will introduce a new way to define the process of becoming flooded with overwhelming stress from a variety of causes. Time will be spent introducing factors that inhibit open discussion about trauma and cultural paradigms that prevent open discussion about difficult topics.

Trauma 101 Session 2 (75 minutes)
With the goal of creating a more trauma informed and responsive campus, experts from Student Health Services will briefly review the neurobiological underpinnings of trauma. Time will be spent further exploring factors that inhibit open discussion about trauma and exploring cultural paradigms that prevent open discussion about difficult topics. Concrete guidance for language to use and ways to engage with students in a supportive manner will be offered. Methods of coping for the individual will be shared.


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