Supporting Student Mental Health and Well-being
Instructors regularly ask for advice about how they can better support the mental health and well-being of students. Here are some tips:
1. Be engaged
You play an important role in building a sense of community on campus.
Help create a campus where all students can connect, engage and belong:
- Take a few minutes before you start your class. Help set the tone with your students to foster a culture of care.
- Creating an office environment where students feel welcome reduces student stress.
- Offer an opportunity for students to talk with you about their experiences on campus and academic journey.
- Find ways to enrich your students experience on campus
2. Talk to your student
Start the conversation. A supportive comment or gesture can go a long way.
- Identify Behaviour. Be specific about the behaviour that you’ve witnessed. Express your concern.
“I’ve noticed you’ve been absent from class lately and I’m concerned about you.”
- Ask open-ended questions. Be patient and give your full attention.
“How is everything going? Are you okay?”
- Engage in positive coaching. Suggest ways that students can get back on track.
- Guide your student towards resources and supports that will help them get back on track.
“The Writing Centre is a great resource. They may be able to offer strategies to help you with your writing.”
- Provide positive reinforcement
Let your student know then they are making positive progress.
“I was pleased with your presentation in class today. Your hard work has paid off.”
- Follow up
If feasible, follow up with the student, but don’t insist on knowing what the student has done.
“How are things since our talk last week?”
3. Trust your instincts
The recommendations you make to a student matter. We are here to empower you to support student thriving.
- Many students experiencing relationship problems, homesickness, a traumatic event, lack of social support or physical health problems.
Your listening ear can make all the difference. Encourage them to connect with peer supports.
- In some cases student may experience difficulties such as depression, anxiety, agitation, grief or anger. These are common and – in moderation – healthy emotions. Take time to show you care. Listen to what the student is experiencing and encourage them to talk to friends or use one of the many online tools available through the Student Wellness and Counselling Centre.
- University is a stressful time for students and many worry about their academic and career goals. Let them know these are common concerns. Encourage them to get engaged. Refer them to the Career Development Office if they need advice on professional development or the Student Experience Office if they would benefit from increased engagement.
5. Connect with supports
You are not alone. There are folks at Memorial available to assist you in supporting students.
Connect the student with resources and identify your concerns using E-Alert or the MUN Safe app. Following your conversation, if you are still concerned about the student or you need more help in assisting them, reach out to other resources for help. Offices that an help you support students include Campus Enforcement and Patrol (864-4100), Student Wellness and Counseling Centre (SWCC) and the Student Support Office (864-7594). Our office can offer guidance and connect both you and students to other supports available here at Memorial.
Together, we can foster and support student well-being.