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SUNY Geneseo
Mental Health Advisory Committee

The SUNY Geneseo Mental Health Advisory Committee is a standing committee of the college and was formally recognized in Fall 2018.  Formerly known as the Mental Health Task Force, this dedicated group of members of the SUNY Geneseo campus community (including faculty, staff, and students) was first established in May 2015 following Geneseo’s participation in the JED Foundation Campus Program. The goal of the group is to emphasize a campus-wide approach to supporting student mental health. 

To learn more, get involved, or share ideas, please email Laura Swanson at


Key Initiatives

Red Folder

This initiative involves providing all faculty and staff with a Red Folder that is meant to serve as a quick reference guide, providing resources for working with students who may be struggling emotionally.  Each folder includes information on identifying indicators of distress, tips for talking to students, ways to contact available resources for referral, and a flow-chart providing assistance with decision-making.

The Mental Health Task Force, in conjunction with campus leaders, initially designed the Red Folder and distributed copies across campus in December 2016.  A revised version, funded by the Healthy Campus and Community Coalition, was distributed in September 2018.

Visit the Red Folder page for more information.


Kognito Training

Kognito At-Risk offers online, interactive courses which utilize conversation simulations.  The courses are designed to help users learn how to approach at-risk students and to make appropriate referrals to campus support services.

The data collected by the Mental Health Task Force provided the evidence to confirm the need to educate a wide audience of the Geneseo community to take an active role in identifying and referring community members who exhibit signs of mental health distress. Of Geneseo students who have completed the training, 94% think all members of the community should take the training.

Visit the Geneseo Kognito page to gain access to Kognito At-Risk.


Mental Health Town Halls

Inaugural Mental Health Town Hall

The Mental Health Task Force hosted SUNY Geneseo's inaugural Mental Health Town Hall on Thursday, March 1, 2018.  We sought to start the conversation about how we work together as a campus to promote mental health. 

Over 100 students and faculty/staff members attended; the event featured a panel discussion and an opportunity to pose questions during an open forum.  Our theme for the night was "Join the Conversation" and since then we've worked to continue that dialogue.  Panelists included:

  • Nydia Constantine '18, international relations, Healthguard
  • Harrison Moses '18, anthropology and biology, Pathways peer advocate
  • Leslie Tetteh '19, psychology, resident advisor for wellness
  • Rebecca Berger, staff psychologist
  • robbie routenberg, interim chief diversity officer
  • Monica Schneider, professor of psychology

Coverage of the 2018 event:

2nd Annual Mental Health Town Hall

We hosted another town hall event on Monday, March 11th, 2019. Our panelists included:

  • Dominique Brown '19, psychology, Pathways peer advocate, a previous member of Geneseo equestrian team
  • Julia Deacon '20, psychology (pre-med) and dance studies minor, assistant residence director, Safe Zone facilitator, Orchesis Dance Club
  • Terence Rogers '20, business administration, men's basketball captain
  • Joe Cope, interim associate provost for Student Success and professor of history 
  • Taylor Gale, assistant director of Student Life for Housing Operations
  • Gabe Iturbides, assistant director of Access Opportunity Programs

Coverage of the 2019 event:

3rd Annual Mental Health Town Hall

Our 3rd Town Hall built upon the first two, inviting the entire Geneseo community to once again answer the question: "How do we work together as a campus to support mental health?"  On Monday, March 9th, attendees gathered and discussed concerns, questions, and hopes related to mental health culture and services.  Panelists for the 2020 Town Hall included:

  • Cathy Adams, Associate Professor of History
  • Laura Kowalski ‘20, math and physics
  • Jason Mahon, area coordinator for Onondaga and Niagara Halls
  • Stacey Robertson, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Katrina Saylor ‘22, psychology
  • Awab Shawkat ‘21,  psychology major/history minor

The event was promoted in an article in The Lamron.


Student and Faculty/Staff Surveys

As its initial undertaking in Fall 2015, the task force assessed views of mental health on campus. The task force designed two surveys, one for students and one for faculty/staff, to gather a variety of perspectives.

For the student survey, the focus was on campus climate, major stressors, identified resources, and barriers to seeking help.

For the faculty/staff survey, the focus was on knowledge, skills, and attitudes surrounding mental health support for students.

The data gathered from the surveys has provided the foundation for decision-making and areas of greatest importance.  The survey data was shared with the campus community at ASSESStivus in October 2016.

Download the ASSESStivus presentation:  Supporting Student Mental Health at Geneseo: A Review of Campus-Wide Surveys.


Jed Foundation (JED) Site Visit

On November 3, 2016, the Mental Health Task Force hosted a visit by Louise Douce and Nance Roy of JED.  The Site Visit is the culminating event of the JED Campus, JED's program that guides colleges and universities through a comprehensive approach for supporting their students' emotional healthy by strengthening mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention program and systems.  During the visit, Dr. Douce and Dr. Roy guided a diverse group of campus stakeholders through a review of campus policies, procedures, programs, and initiatives, and offered their consultative opinions.  The result of the visit was a Strategic Plan for Mental Health provided by the JED Foundation.

The Mental Health Task Force is now using this Strategic Plan to set priorities and chart the future initiatives of the group.