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 (read on 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 this 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 own mental health by:
- Maintaining healthy relationships.
- Practicing mindfulness.
- Maintaining spiritual practices, especially if that has been an important part of their history.
- Exercising, eating well, sleeping well.
- Taking breaks and rewarding hard work.
- Seeking help when needed.
- Refer a struggling student to Counseling Services.
Podcast titled "Improving Learning and Mental Health"
Toolkit for Faculty - Resources to include in your syllabus and/or course shell
Sample Syllabus statement: “University Counseling and Prevention Services provide free, confidential counseling services and support to any enrolled student from any location.”
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: Counseling and Prevention Services | Saint Leo University
- Phone for appointments: 352-588-8199
- 24/7 phone: 352-588-TALK
- Mental Health Crisis Line: 988
- Campus Safety: 352-588-8333 or 911 if there is a safety concern or emergency
* Step by step instructions on how to create a new “Student Mental Health Resource” module.
- Saint Leo Counseling and Prevention Services Website and Resources
- Saint Leo Lions Care
- Counseling Services Information Card (PDF)
- Resources for students (apps, links for meditation, articles for dealing with stress)
Sample D2L Announcements to post in your course shell
- Sample D2L Announcements by week – Week 1-2, Week 6-8, Week 13-15
- Weeks 1-2 Sample Announcement: Welcome to [name of course]. I’m glad you are part of our learning community, and I look forward to working with you. I want to draw your attention to some resources in our course shell. At the bottom of our course content, you’ll see a module for “Student Mental Health Resources.” Feel free to access these anytime during the semester, especially during times of stress or struggle. University Counseling Services are free to all enrolled students. Mental health is important, so I encourage you to be proactive.
- Week 6-8 Sample Announcement: At this point in the semester, things are getting busy, and you no-doubt have lots of assignments and projects due. This is just a reminder that our “Student Mental Health Resources” tab (the last module under “Content), if there for you if you need it. Take care of yourself!
- End of Semester/Term Announcement: The end of the semester/term is always challenging with due dates and exams. Remember to take care of yourselves, and if needed, access our Student Mental Health Resources module.
Higher Education Today. (n.d.). College Student Mental Health and Well-Being. https://www.higheredtoday.org/policy-research/student-support-success/college-student-mental-health-well/