Student Well-Being: What Some US Colleges Are Doing

Student Well-Being: What Some US Colleges Are Doing
October 1, 2015

Contributed by Dr. Nance Roy, Clinical Director, The JED Foundation

College is a time of transition for most students, many of whom will be away from home for the first time, learning how to navigate life on their own, and figuring out how to manage their new-found independence. During the first week of school, most students are busy meeting new people, making new friends, thinking about classes, and not particularly focused on what support services might be available to them on campus. Most of us seek out information and become aware of resources when we need them, but some colleges are doing very creative things to support students as they transition into campus life. Here are some examples of ways that colleges and universities are reaching out to students to support their emotional health and well-being:

  • Safe Party Mobile Website: University of California, Davis introduces students to important tips when making choices about substance use and partying via their safe party mobile-friendly website. The site offers engaging, simple, easy-to-read tips on being safe for the party goer and the party thrower, with checklists for both.
  • Cirque de-Stress and Syllabi Message: The University of Minnesota hosted three Cirque de-Stress events, multiple half hour circus performances that use metaphors to illustrate the need to balance college life and juggle multiple responsibilities. The event is supplemented with additional stress reduction and mental health resources, as well as post-event surveys to assess effectiveness. The University also recommends that faculty include a specific message on their syllabi about mental health, stress, and how to access resources on campus.
  • Gatorade Pong and Pet Assisted Therapy: As a fun alternative to alcohol, Saint Francis University sponsors Gatorade Pong (the antithesis of “beer pong”). Students can also spend time petting and playing with a pet as a way to de-stress and relax.

Whatever the initiative, it is important that students are central to the creation, design, and delivery of any health promotion effort. Students listen to students, so tapping into their many talents will increase the likelihood that your wellness messaging will be heard – and hopefully retained.

Also, check out Boston University’s “You Speak” Campaign video featuring students talking about how they balance campus life stresses, here.

*The examples above are sourced from members of theCampus Program.

See original post on Care for Your Mind here.

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