Faculty and Staff Mental Health Ambassador Program

The Faculty and Staff Mental Health Ambassador Program is a set of initiatives that aims to help current University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign faculty and staff understand and address student mental health concerns. Specifically, it provides training for faculty and staff to increase awareness of mental health.

The program offers implementable mental health initiatives to help create a culture of care and support. It is also intended to help faculty and staff members attend to self-care by offering guidance on the roles that faculty, staff and students play in addressing student mental health. Importantly, the program emphasizes that faculty and staff are not in a formal counseling role.

The ambassador program was originally developed by three Computer Science students and an iSchool student working on the Computer Science Mental Health Committee (Ananya Cleetus, chair of initiative, Nikita Agarwal, Neha Prabhu, and Cecilia Ding).

Ambassadors will be current faculty and staff volunteers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Program Overview

The 2021-2022 academic year was targeted as a pilot program. The program will continue piloting through the 2022-2023 year. Once a level is completed, ambassadors will be awarded a certificate and be listed on this website. They will also receive a badge indicating which level is achieved that can be displayed on a website, syllabus, an office door, and other places.

Level 1

Level 1 training consists of the required trainings listed below and actions to integrate into unit or department work.

The first section of training includes mental health allyship, disability allyship, diversity and communication information. The goal is for faculty and staff to develop a basic understanding of student mental health and their roles in addressing it. A checklist of action items is provided that include developing a unit mental health syllabus statement, a potential check-in system, wellbeing practices and potentially more individualized training. Through this program, ambassadors should be able to integrate actions into unit work and reflect upon teaching or working practices through the lens of promoting student wellbeing.

TrainingOffered byDescriptionTime
Kognito At-Risk Crisis Counseling
Interactive training to identify students who may be struggling with mental health or in a mental health crisis.

*This training must be completed first in the required training series.
30-40 minutes, asynchronous
Mental Health and DisabilityDisability Resources & Educational Services (DRES)Provides an overview of DRES services and accommodation for students with mental health-related disabilities.25-30 minutes, asynchronous
Mental Health and DiversityReadings intended to raise awareness about mental health among minoritized students and students who feel that they must hide or minimize a part of their identity.30-40 minutes, asynchronous
Mental Health and COVID Article discussing how students may be experiencing heightened stress and burnout related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and 2020-2021 Student Experience Survey data.20-30 minutes, asynchronous
Email TrainingEmail samples to help faculty and staff respond to student concerns about mental health.20-30 minutes, asynchronous

Level 2

Level 2 of the Faculty and Staff Mental Health Ambassador Program can be achieved by completing two optional trainings focused on a variety of advanced topics to strengthen understanding and skills in mental health, wellness and social identity concerns. Level 2 is currently being developed, and faculty and staff who have completed Level 1 will be contacted when it becomes available.

Level 2 Criteria

  • Must be a Level 1 Ambassador.
  • Must complete/show proof of at least two optional trainings from the provided list.
  • Must complete two optional trainings no more than 1 year after completing Level 1.

Become A Faculty and Staff Mental Health Ambassador

If you have questions or are interested in learning more about the mental health ambassador program, please email mentalhealth@illinois.edu.