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Crisis support on campus

A survey conducted in 2022 by the National College Health Assessment at the University of Utah found that over 80% of students agree that health and well-being are a priority. The college experience could feel overwhelming with being alone in a different city, being pressured to perform well in classes and finding new friends.

Students at the University of Utah can personalize their mental health support based on their individual needs. For those living on campus, Housing and Residential Education (HRE) has a specialized team that helps residents on-site, 24/7.

“One of the main draws to come work at the U for me was the fact that a support office existed within HRE and that they worked with clinicians to create the MH1 program for the residential population,” said Kristi Manwill, associate director of Conduct Management & Student Outreach. “That was not seen at the time at other institutions. I love that the U is innovative and working hard to support students where they need it the most. Today, the U is a role model for other institutions looking to create similar support programs.”

The HRE Support Team engages regularly with Resident Directors and campus partners.

The resident outreach coordinators are professional staff within Housing & Residential Education. They are case managers who meet with students and build out individualized care plans based on the needs of the students. They support students through mental health concerns, academic issues, financial concerns, roommate issues, hospitalizations and personal support. For anything a resident might need help with, the team is there to be a listening ear and help create a manageable care plan.

“It is my priority to serve the students on campus and ensure they feel comfortable and safe while living here,” explained Jordan Judd, resident outreach coordinator. “I prioritize our students’ physical and mental well-being above all else. I meet with residents daily to connect them with resources on and off campus to improve their mental and physical health, academics, financial standing, and overall life satisfaction. I am privileged to work with a wide variety of teams across campus, including mental health practitioners and U of U Police, in order to provide well-rounded care and services for our students.”

As Beth Faller, also resident outreach coordinator, explains, “The work includes case management, crisis intervention and linking students with the community. We are always excited to help empower our students to act as their own advocates and to encourage them to work with campus partners to create a continuum of services to facilitate a student’s successful college experience.”


The MH1 team is available on the first floor of Kahlert Village, Room 1330.

Mental Health First Responders (MH1) provide free, mobile after-hours crisis support for students living on campus. They serve students with licensed mental health crisis workers who offer follow-up services, ongoing support, and referrals to healthcare providers and mental health services. This service is available virtually and on-site, seven days a week, from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Their office is in Kahlert Village, the biggest residence hall on campus. MH1 staff are employed by the Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI) and work in partnership with Student Affairs departments, including HRE and the University Counseling Center.

“Our team mobilizes to respond in person to the student in need, often with the support of HRE staff,” explained Torrence Wimbish, Program Manager of MH1. “Sometimes, students will struggle in silence, feeling stuck or anxious, or just going through a hard time; but our licensed mental health crisis responders are here to help support them. Our office has an open-door policy, so students can drop in any time and talk with a master’s level mental health professional.”

Healthy students, healthy campus

The MH1 team responds in person to the student in need with the support of HRE staff.

Nationwide, college students identify the critical place that mental health has in their academic journey, and they recognize experiencing different daily emotions. A recent survey from Gallup shows that during the Spring 2023 Semester, 66% of U.S. college students felt stress and 51% worry.

“After moving away from home and onto campus I learned so many things about living away from my parents! The most important was my mental health, said Virginia Barnard, a second-year U student in engineering. “I learned that I needed support to help me, and thankfully, I went to a wonderful school that provides so many resources. From support from professors to my RA, the counseling center, and especially the Mental Health First Responders, I was able to find a community of people willing to help me through a difficult time.”

Making a difference

The University of Utah Student Affairs has identified the significant impact that unaddressed mental health needs can have on students’ academic success. The division has been working on enhancing access and awareness, which includes co-locating the University Counseling Center, Center for Campus Wellness, and Center for Disability and Access into a centralized location at the Student Services Building. Additionally, the division is working toward implementing systems to seamlessly connect students with decentralized resources, facilitating smoother referrals and ensuring students receive the support they need efficiently.

“We recognize that health and wellness services aren’t one-size-fits-all, so we’re dedicated to expanding access to our various resources, ensuring students can easily find the support they need,” said Sherra’ Watkins, associate vice president for Student Health and Wellness. “It’s important for students to know that the U provides more than just individual counseling—we offer a variety of services to support them at any stage of their wellness journey.”