Bethany College participates in telemedicine grant

Bethany WallBethany College is participating in a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), managed by Kansas University Medical Center (KUMC), that provides rural colleges access to psychiatric, mental health, and drug and alcohol treatment via telemedicine through KUMC and the Central Kansas Foundation.

Bethany currently offers counseling to its students, and this grant enhances the services via telemedicine, a technology that allows the student and mental health provider to meet over a secure video conferencing connection.

“This is a great opportunity for Bethany students to have access to the latest treatment and prevention services,” says Valoree Barrett, campus counselor and grant coordinator. “As society struggles with issues of drugs and alcohol, Bethany is pioneering state-of-the-art programs that help students on campus and that could also expand to every institution in Kansas and Missouri. This will also provide excellent experience-based education for our addiction counseling students.”

Bethany is the first to offer counseling through this three-year project. Students at rural colleges often have fewer resources and transportation options to meet their mental health and drug treatment needs. The project will expand to rural colleges across the state and add a substance abuse prevention component using social media and virtual worlds.

The grant also provides funding for prevention and retention programs. This year, Bethany’s student-athletes are participating in Personal Best by Third Millennium. This online program is personalized for each individual. Students evaluate what is important to them and set their own standards and expectations for their college experiences, which sets them up for success in the classroom, on the field, and with friends.

Also, all freshmen are participating in AlcoholEdu by EverFi. The evidence-based program challenges students’ expectations about alcohol so they can make healthy and safe decisions in college. The focus is on preventing harm and making it less likely that students will have problems with alcohol.

Bethany College, established by Swedish Lutheran immigrants in 1881, is a college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The mission of Bethany College is to educate, develop and challenge individuals to reach for truth and excellence as they lead lives of faith, learning and service. Bethany College is on the Web at www.bethanylb.edu/.

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