MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — Minot State University is starting a new system of delivering and monitoring mental health and treatment for students.

According to a news release, the new system is called Stepped Care, which is a model that is a multi-tier system of programs that looks to meet students where they are in their mental health process, while also promoting autonomy and empowerment.

“The Stepped Care Model is important for Minot State University because it will help counseling services and, ultimately, the University as a whole, in responding to and streamlining student needs and requests regarding their mental health,” said Minot State Clinical Mental Health Counselor Troy Roness. “Our plan is to provide students with opportunities for connections with other on- and off-campus resources and support, as well as an integration of services across all of campus — this is crucial for a healthy campus climate.”

The most effective intervention is offered based on a person’s needs at first, then services will “step up” what’s required depending on the level of a student’s desire or need.

Other, less intensive treatments include campus referrals, brief consultations, and self-help approaches like self-help practices and mental health apps. More intensive treatments have options of longer-term therapy, group therapy, or an off-campus or community referral.

Stepped Care has a variety of resources for people and an intervention structure that promotes resilience and encourages a growth mindset.

“I realize I am biased, but with this model and our incorporations of a new mental health app for students, we will have the opportunity to provide mental health resources using new technology in effective, flexible, and expedient ways,” Roness added. “We want to provide mental health services to accommodate student comfort levels and preferences.”

The implementation of this model has shown effectiveness at other universities across the country.

At a university in Grand Rapids, Michigan, it showed a 56% decrease in wait time for new students from their initial request of a first appointment, and a 61% decrease in crisis appointments overall.

“The mental health services environment is rapidly changing, and we have a duty to keep pace with those changes — and even step ahead,” Roness said. “By taking a personalized, stepped care approach, our counselors and clinic staff hope to provide a flexible access to wellness and mental health resources.”

Roness also said, “By providing the additional options for one-time visits, consultations, education, campus support, and the fluidity of service based upon students’ needs, this model will empower our staff to help students maximize and manage their mental health without limiting services solely to long-term psychotherapy. Frankly, you cannot apply a one-size-fits-all approach to mental health services.”