Important updates on mental health and well-being
NC State students, faculty and staff:
As we approach Thanksgiving, and finals soon afterward, we want to provide you with an update on the university’s efforts to support and enhance student mental health and well-being. We also want to express our gratitude to many across the university — and especially those staffing the Counseling Center, Prevention Services and Campus Health — who are working tirelessly to help our students through a challenging semester. Thank you for all you’ve done and continue to do.
Below, please see a few key updates on our work. There is much to be done, and we’re committed to implementing both short- and long-term solutions to safeguard the health and well-being of our Wolfpack. Visit our Wolfpack Wellness page to see a wide variety of available resources.
One of the primary concerns we’ve heard from the campus community involves the ability to make a counseling appointment on campus. Although we can accommodate students who are in crisis or at high risk of immediate harm, we recognize that there can be a significant wait for other initial individual counseling visits. To help address this, we’ve taken the following actions:
- We’ve hired temporary counselors and are working to fast-track our hiring processes to quickly fill vacant counselor positions.
- We’ve connected with our UNC System colleagues to obtain additional counseling support. As a result, UNC-Chapel Hill, Western Carolina University and Elizabeth City State University have been providing virtual drop-in counseling sessions for our students. We’re working to keep these counseling sessions for students in place through the end of the fall semester.
- We’ve engaged an established network of approved off-campus providers who are prioritizing our students through referrals from the Counseling Center. And, to ensure there are no financial barriers to students receiving care, we have established a fund to cover the cost of off-campus appointments for those who need it.
- We are also in the final stages of completing an agreement with a teletherapy provider that will enable us to increase our capacity to see students for counseling. This arrangement will allow us to provide appointments usually within 24 hours and at no cost to our students. We will share more information about this service in the days to come.
Academic Support and Relief
While academics are certainly not the only stressor for our students, they are a significant one for many. The following immediate steps provide support for our students in this area:
- Faculty are being asked not to require absence documentation through the remainder of the academic year, to help reduce additional stresses on students and on our on-campus health and counseling services.
- To maximize time for faculty, staff and students to prepare, a wellness day for the spring semester has been scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023. No classes will be held, and instructors are asked to avoid any tests or deadlines on Thursday, Feb. 16, and Friday, Feb. 17.
- Moving forward, the university is working with our accreditation team to make wellness days an integral part of the university calendar in a manner consistent with our accreditor’s expectations and policies.
Student Mental Health Task Force
The Student Mental Health Task Force had its first meeting last week and is busy at work examining our existing campus resources, listening to recommendations from the community and conducting research on best practices. So far, the task force has received more than 800 submissions from the Wolfpack community. If you haven’t done so already, please make sure to provide your feedback and ideas by Friday, Dec. 16. Please check the task force website for progress updates and additional information in the weeks ahead.
We are committed to providing updates on our progress, and we will share more on this topic in the weeks ahead. We know some in the community are interested in how the university responds to and communicates about student deaths. Our philosophy and approach are informed by national best practices and research around effective steps universities can take to help communities grieve, restore stability and limit the risk of more deaths. We also strive to consider sensitivities around family members’ wishes and privacy.
For more information about how the university responds to and communicates about deaths in the community, please visit this page.
A Well-Deserved Break
Again, thank you for all you’re doing to make our university more welcoming, inclusive and supportive. The past several months have been challenging for all of us, but we are confident that we can get through this together as a Pack. We hope you all have an enjoyable, restful few days over the break.
Doneka R. Scott
Vice Chancellor and Dean, Division of Academic and Student Affairs