Mental health is one of the biggest challenges on campus today.
Anxiety overtook depression as the primary reason students visit counseling centers in 2009, and it's continued to rise ever since. The share of undergraduates reporting "overwhelming anxiety" rose from 50% in 2011 to 62% in 2016, according to a report from the American College Health Association. Demand for mental health services on U.S. campuses is rising five times faster than enrollment, and Canadian campuses have also seen an uptick in demand for counseling services.
To better support students' mental health, Dalhousie University in Nova Scota recently launched Q-Life, an eight- to 10-hour virtual coaching program that aims to teach students to be more resilient, Delainey Wescott writes for Dal News. The program is the result of a three-year study by Dalhousie's student affairs leaders and the School of Health and Human Performance into strategies for building student resilience.
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The Q-Life program includes 3 steps. First, students complete an assessment and receive a Q-Life score rating their stress, coping, engagement, and health. Next, students learn how to improve their score by watching a series of short videos. Finally, students take action to improve their resilience by working through weekly exercises and tracking their well-being through a journaling app.
Q-Life takes a new approach to supporting mental health through "programs that focus on maintaining health versus programs that are solely focused on treatment," says Verity Turpin, an assistant vice provost at Dalhousie. Resilience helps students better manage the daily stress of campus life, as well as "learn and develop as challenges occur," says Lori Dithurbide, an assistant professor of kinesiology at Dalhousie who helped create the program.
A similar coaching program is underway at the University of Virginia (UVA) to help students build their resilience and leadership skills. Participants volunteer to attend a safe, confidential setting in which they discuss their struggles and stressors as they relate to leadership (Wescott, Dalhousie release, 11/9; Q-Life site, accessed 11/14).
Just 34% of college students say their schools have robust mental health resources
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