Referrals to Mental Health Services in Ohio: An Exploration of Time to First Referral After Completion of Mental Health First Aid Gatekeeper Training
Keywords:Mental health, College students, Referrals, Mental health first aid
Background: The college population is particularly vulnerable to mental health challenges. In 2020 only 46.2% of people with a mental illness received mental health services. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a training course designed to teach people how to connect individuals in need of professional services to the appropriate resources.
Methods: Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) trainings were offered to students, faculty, and staff at Kent State University. Data from 343 individuals, who completed the MHFA gatekeeper training, were analyzed to explore the impact of time and participant characteristics on the likelihood of first referral to mental health services after completion of the MHFA. Participants completed a pretraining and posttraining paper questionnaire on the day of MHFA training and received a monthly online follow-up survey to assess self-reported referrals over time.
Results: After completing MHFA, the average time until first referral was approximately 3 months. Several participant characteristics were significantly associated with referral to mental health services. African American and Black participants who completed the training were more likely to make a referral as compared to White participants. Extraversion was associated with increased likelihood of making a referral, while emotional stability was associated with a decreased likelihood of making a referral.
Conclusion: Participants were 5.7% less likely to first report referring with each passing month following the MHFA training, suggesting that there may be cause for an MHFA or similar gatekeeper “booster” course to highlight the importance of making referrals.
Copyright (c) 2022 Jessica M Song, Kimberly R Laurene, Deric R Kenne
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.