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Crisis Management and Understanding Mental Illness for Residential Life

Crisis Management and Understanding Mental Illness for Residential Life

We offer a blended model of training with Dr. Brian Van Brunt to train your residential life staff in key crisis de-escalation and working with residents with mental illness.

The training series includes:

  • An on-site training day in July or August that would address the topics listed below in 75-minute segments throughout the day.

  • Access for all RA/RDs to five of the RA/RD courses listed on the Training Outpost website to be completed during the fall semester. Completion updates and a final report would be provided to the administrator.

  • One 75-minute zoom training from the D-Prep team (topic TBD based on your institution’s needs) in the month of October or November.

Cost for In-Person/Hybrid Trainings: $7500 (travel included)

In-Person Training Courses

Addressing Disruptive and Dangerous Behavior: This workshop offers research-based, practical advice for residence staff to better manage crisis scenarios that develop related to irritability, financial stress, mental illness emergencies, and relationship difficulties. The course draws from the fields of psychology and law enforcement, teaching techniques including motivational interviewing, rapport building, content-process focus, and knowledge of hooks and barbs. There will be a focus on microaggressions, cultural competency, and GLBTQ+ inclusivity.

Navigating Frustrating Conversations with Residents: This course provides some down to earth and practical ideas on how to avoid getting caught in conversation traps, becoming flustered, and being less effective in conversations. We will offer research-based, practical advice for residence staff to effectively navigate conversations with residents with difficult personalities and frustrating conversation styles and help shape clear and consistent conversational approaches. The course will help staff identify triggers and common conversational traps where they become stuck and offer innovative approaches to engage individuals and set clear boundaries.

Managing Mental Illness: This workshop will offer practical guidance on the topics of managing mental illness concerns related to suicide and trauma in the community and/or schools. We will address common challenges when working with students and community members who experience severe, pervasive, and persistent mental illness and understanding the range of referral and treatment from outpatient therapy to inpatient treatment.

Helping Suicidal Community Members: There is a very long path between identifying a suicidal risk with an individual and making sure they become connected to counseling services. This workshop will review the importance of looking for signs and symptoms of suicidal behavior and understanding how best to help them access services. Particular attention will be given to treatment resistant individuals (e.g., those who do not wish to attend counseling) and groups that historically have underutilized services (e.g., LGBTQ+, African Americans). The use of practical case examples and role playing will be incorporated.

Training Outpost Online Courses

These can be viewed in detail at

  • Understanding Residents with OCD

  • Understanding Residents with Eating Disorders

  • Understanding Residents with Depression

  • Understanding Residents with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Understanding Residents with Anxiety Disorder

  • Understanding Residents with ADD/ADHD

  • Understanding Residents with Thought Disorders

  • Addressing Residents with Substance Addiction

  • The Hospitalization Process for Housing Staff

  • Crisis De-Escalation for Housing Staff

  • Navigating Frustrating Conversations with Residents

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