At the close of Year 2 of the CCC SMHP (June 2014), PIRE developed a Final Evaluation Report detailing the Program’s resources, services, and outreach efforts.
The California Community Colleges Student Mental Health Program (CCC SMHP) Capacity Survey of Campus Based Mental Health Services was implemented to track change in capacity for MH services across all California Community College campuses. The baseline survey had been conducted previously (in Spring 2013). The Fall 2013 capacity report included descriptive results for the college campuses that responded to the second wave of our survey. A final survey was concluded in Fall 2014.
A nationally recognized research survey, the ACHA-NCHA contains 300 questions that includes multi-topic areas relevant to a student's health and wellness, and includes questions regarding alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use, sexual health, weight, nutrition and exercise, mental health, personal safety, and violence. The ACHA-NCHA also ties mental health measures with measures of academic success, such as academic performance and student retention. In 2013, the HSACCC facilitated a statewide consortium of California community colleges to administer the American College Health Association National College Health Assessment (ACHA-NCHA II). With, 17,231 respondents, it is the largest study of community college students in the nation. Preliminary reports were presented at the 2014 HSACCC Annual Conference. Results from prior years are available at www.hsaccc.org/mmental_health.pdf.
As part of the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) Statewide Evaluation of the Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) Initiatives, RAND conducted campus-wide online surveys of California college and university faculty, staff, and students during the spring and fall of 2013. The purpose of these surveys was to understand (1) experiences and attitudes related to student mental health, (2) perceptions of how campuses are serving students' mental health needs, and (3) perceptions of the overall campus climate toward student mental health and well-being. UC and CSU invited all of their campuses to participate. CCCs invited a subset (30 campus-based grantees [CBGs] with CalMHSA funding and 30 campuses without campus-based grants) of their campuses to participate.
All evaluation work for the California Community Colleges Student Mental Health Program (CCC SMHP) is being done by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE). They are one of the nation's preeminent independent, nonprofit organizations focusing on individual and social problems associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs. PIRE is dedicated to merging scientific knowledge and proven practice to create solutions that improve the health, safety, and well-being of individuals, communities, nations and the world. The Institute has a significant national presence in the area of prevention, with funded research projects at its ten research centers located around the country.
PIRE scientists and practitioners continually focus on the design and implementation of complex program evaluation strategies and the conduct of research related to health and social issues, including criminal justice. PIRE provides training and technical assistance in many health-related areas to states and communities that are attempting to mitigate the effects of alcohol and other drug abuse.
In all its work, PIRE maintains a commitment to the application of research findings in solution of real-world problems, achieved, in part, by translating scientific knowledge into practical guidance for policymakers and practitioners.
The PIRE evaluation team is collaborating with the CalMHSA statewide evaluation team led by the RAND Corporation (RAND). The CCC SMHP is part of the higher education component of the statewide prevention and early intervention evaluation. This partnership is effective in leveraging resources and data sharing to enhance the capacity of both evaluations.
The focus of the CCC SMHP is to build mental health capacity across the CCC system. PIRE's evaluation is designed to develop a baseline measurement of mental health services across the CCC system (re: Capacity Survey of Mental Health Services) and monitor change over the time of the project. In addition, we will measure the overall climate of student mental health services (re: CalMHSA Higher/Education Student Survey) and the faculty / staff's experience and attitudes related to student mental health issues (re: CalMHSA Higher Education Faculty/Staff Survey).
As the CCC SMHP evaluator, PIRE has the responsibility to design and implement a comprehensive and integrated evaluation of CCC mental health services capacity with a major focus on the three key components of the CCC SMHP.
As can be seen in figure 1, through training and technical assistance provided by the SPT and the TTA initiatives, CBGs and non-CBG campuses will have opportunities to expand their mental health capacity and to improve student mental health outcomes.
As the CalMHSA statewide evaluator, the RAND team has the responsibility to design and implement a comprehensive and integrated statewide evaluation plan for the CalMHSA Suicide Prevention, Stigma and Discrimination Reduction, and Student Mental Health (SMH) Statewide Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) Initiatives. Statewide evaluation aims include the following:
There are three major data collection components for the CCC SMHP evaluation:
Richard P. McGaffigan
Robert F. Saltz, Ph.D.