Inclusive Dialogue: Inviting Mental Wellness Understanding & Planning into Everyday Academics
The need for incorporating mental wellness planning into academic support systems is situated in the evolving needs of today’s college students. It is nearly impossible to not see the changing demographics in colleges across the country. University counseling centers nationwide are continually overwhelmed by the increasing demand for services. This fact begs the question: Is it appropriate to expect one office to absorb the needs of an entire student community? Perhaps the answer to this question lies in the concept of providing training to all who interact with students. Wouldn’t it be more beneficial for the student to receive support from all who engage with her/him?
The focus of this proposal is to map out the initial stages of a comprehensive plan for the Swanson School of Engineering (SSoE) to begin inviting conversation and training among our students, staff professionals, & faculty around mental wellness. In turning it into everyday conversation, it is hoped our community of scholars will feel personally supported and encouraged toward degree completion as well as overall success and happiness in their pursuits beyond the walls of Benedum Hall. Through the implementation of three distinct interventions (Mental Health First Aid Training, creation of a Mental Wellness Advisory Board, & specialized Curricula Development) we believe we will be creating new systems of personalized support. Development of these interventions will positively and personally engage our underserved students who have invisible disabilities. Our ultimate goal is to propel our students to experience unprecedented support, success in their studies, and prepare all for life beyond the university.