BeVocal, the bystander intervention initiative of the Counseling and Mental Health Center, has named Marian Trattner as the program’s first bystander intervention coordinator.
Previously, Trattner was the suicide prevention coordinator for the center, said Katy Redd, assistant director for prevention and outreach.
“She has a definite understanding of the campus community and really strong relationships with staff and faculty across campus as well as students,” Redd said.
With its first full-time coordinator, BeVocal, which promotes intervention in potentially harmful situations, is looking to expand its influence throughout the University community.
“Having a full-time coordinator means that we can reach more populations,” Redd said. “In addition to students, now can we reach out to staff and faculty as well, in a more robust and meaningful way.”
Given that Trattner will be the first full-time coordinator of the initiative, Redd said the specific responsibilities of the position are currently being discussed.
“(She will be) responsible with the long-term planning in terms of the changes and the cultural shifts that we want to see on campus as it relates to intervening in potentially harmful behavior,” Redd said.
Marilyn Russell, director of sorority and fraternity life, said BeVocal collaborates with other initiatives on campus including the Campus Climate Response Team to develop content or programs that accommodate to the changing needs of the University community.
“Increasing the education around what is potentially harmful is critically important to actually having a community,” Russell said. “It’s not about changing minds, but it is about increasing awareness and competency around preventing harm.”
Psychology senior Emily Hinds said she thinks the University needs to increase awareness of issues such as mental illness among its students.
“I do think that students don’t take (mental illness) as seriously,” Hinds said. “I think it just needs to have more information out there because a lot of people see it as an excuse people may use.”
To increase awareness of different issues, BeVocal creates content such as postcards with information about problems such as Islamophobia or videos that highlight situations of potential harm as well as adequate methods of response or preventative action in those situations.
“(Intervening in harmful) language is difficult, but it’s often the first point of intervention,” Redd said. “The era in which we are living right now really necessitates that we have those difficult conversations.”