How Faculty Can Support Student Mental Health

The American Council on Education posted an article on student mental health and well-being in which they stated, “three out of 10 students have struggled with depression in the last two weeks, and over one in four have expressed issues with anxiety.” It is clear that many of the students in our classes have more going on in their minds than just learning our content, and these issues present obstacles to their learning and, more importantly, to their well-being.  Faculty are uniquely positioned to recognize and support students, beginning with modeling physical, mental, and spiritual self-care.  But there’s more…

Faculty can also engage in a few simple practices to support students.   
•  Embed mental health resources in your course shell (Check out the webpage to find out how to do that). 
•  Include a mental health statement in your syllabus that provides the contact information for the university counseling center (Sample statement provided on our Supporting Student Mental Health webpage). 
•  During the first week of classes, acknowledge the importance of mental health, and let them know you are providing resources in your course shell in case they’d like to access them. 
•  Acknowledge that college can be hard and struggling is normal when growth is occurring. 
•  Post an announcement in your course prior to midterm and the end of the semester, reminding students of the resources. 
•  Encourage students to take responsibility for their mental health by:
º Maintaining healthy relationships. 
º Practicing mindfulness. 
º Maintaining spiritual practices, especially if that has been an important part of their history. 
º Exercising, eating well, sleeping well. 
º Taking breaks and rewarding hard work. 
º Seeking help when needed.
•  Refer a struggling student to Counseling Services 

For more information and many more resources, check out our Supporting Student Mental Health webpage

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