As the new academic year begins, Augustana College in Rock Island has created a new position to watch over the mental health of its students.
The first Director of Student Well-Being and Resiliency is Farrah Roberts. And she says her job will include coordinating the various programs and offices already involved in monitoring the social and emotional health of students.
"For colleges nationwide, there's been a rise of suicides and suicide attempts. So we just really have to get ahead of that with prevention and education and awareness of what those signs and symptoms might be. And what we can do to decrease that level of stress and hopelessness that some students feel that lead them to that decision."
Over the summer, Roberts began meeting with college staff, and last week taught her first class in "youth mental health first aid" - to some of the student advisors.
Previously she was in charge of the mental health programs for the Davenport School District, with more than 15,000 students in grades k through 12. Augustana's enrollment is about 2,600.