Your connection to the University of Michigan-Dearborn | Spring 2019

Building a More Holistic Culture Around Mental Health

When you think of campus programs designed to boost student success, you probably think of things like tutoring or flexible class schedules.

But colleges across the country now are taking a look at how bolstering mental health services can impact students’ academic lives.

As part of a collaboration with the JED Foundation, a national mental health and suicide prevention nonprofit, UM-Dearborn is working to integrate mental health into more aspects of campus life. In the years to come, look for things like mindfulness and meditation exercises at the end of classes; more trainings to help faculty and staff recognize the warning signs of mental illness; and policies that make it easier for students to integrate back into academic life following a mental health-based medical leave.

Another big addition: student-led support groups. Recent research shows that students are more likely to reach out to peers before they’d seek out a therapist. So UM-Dearborn trained 10 students to facilitate weekly support groups, where participants can get together and discuss whatever is on their minds. Organizers are hoping it can be a stigma-busting supplemental service — especially for students’ most common non-emergency mental health needs like relationship issues or class-related stress.

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