CCaST Offers Services to Students in Need
The mission of Housatonic is to ensure high quality education that is affordable and accessible to students of different backgrounds in an intellectually active and rich environment.
HCC is also committed to making sure students are safe while learning, in part through the implementation of a Campus Care and Support Team (CCaST).
As a result of mass shooting rampages across the country in recent years, campus safety has become a major priority. The Newtown school shooting in 2012 was a day our country will never forget. The shooting, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, had a life changing impact for the residents of Connecticut. As a result the public’s attention to campus safety has been greatly heightened. The safety of students, professors, and staff at HCC has been elevated to meet national, state and community goals.
The public’s attention to mental health issues in particular has also been heightened. Indira Reddy, a counselor at HCC and chair of CCaST, explained how mental health is defined. Reddy explained that mental health impacts us during our whole life. “Mental health is a state of well-being. Biological, emotional, and relational well-being.” Reddy said .
CCaST was established in compliance with the Connecticut state legislative mandate (January 2014, PA 13-3 Sec 92 ). The purpose was to establish trained Behavior Intervention and Threat Assessment teams on Campus. In 2014 there were nine college members from different disciplines trained by the National Behavioral Threat Association, (NaBITA).
The training has provided CCaST with a proven, evidence-based approach in preventing violence and offering appropriate recommendations to students and campus community members. Reddy explained that the the purpose of CCast is to provide a safe and optimal learning environment for every student who wants to learn. “The mission of CCaST is to serve as a campus resource in maintaining safety, and promoting an optimal learning and working environment for the college community,” she said.
“The purpose is early prevention of student behavioral concerns before they escalate into crises,” Reddy added.
One of the most important things CCaST does is to connect students with the correct resources. Reddy explained the goal of the Campus Care and Support team is to avoid stigmatizing those who appear different. “We don’t brand, we don’t label, we don’t profile,” said Reddy. “We have to create connections and opportunities to enable campus life.”
When you feel isolated or feel like there is no one to turn to, you should not panic, the program emphasizes. You should instead reach out to someone on campus you trust. The problem is that not everyone who has these problems is getting the services he or she needs. The good thing is that Housatonic has programs for those experiencing problems of a personal nature. Students have many options. They can click on the college home page and on student resources. Students can also walk into or make an appointment in the counseling center in LH 108. If a student witnesses behavior that may cause you to feel unsafe, you can email CCaST at [email protected]
As members of the college campus community, CCasST also encourages students to report behaviors they see in other students that could be worrisome.
“The best thing to do is to reach out to them and redirect them, “ said Reddy. “Early reporting is the best way to preventing potential violence happening our community.”
To learn more, go to http://www.hcc.commnet.edu/ resources/CCaST/index.asp