Letter to the Editor: Changes and Goals for Mental Health Support at WC

Dear Washington College Community,

Over the last few weeks our campus has been grappling with great sadness following the loss of a member of our small community. In the midst of that struggle, however, we have been given an opportunity to figure out how we, as a campus, can do better. Consequently, students and administrators have come together to talk about these issues and to propose solutions that focus on student mental health. These conversations have been valuable and necessary.

By working together, passionate students, the Student Government Association President, the Office of Student Affairs and the President’s Office have created a plan of action for impactful change that will further advance the support of students, create more awareness, and promote increased education. While not an exhaustive list, we wanted to share with everyone some crucial elements of that plan:

• Develop and deliver more mental health training professional development for faculty and staff;

• Launch student mental health resiliency training program run by Counseling Services;

• Provide additional mental health training for student leaders;

• Support the re-emergence of an Active Minds chapter on campus;

• Utilize the SGA Mental Health bill funding to support awareness and education around mental health;

• Create a positive mental health poster campaign;

• Review Public Safety practices and training to ensure that officers receive the support necessary to respond to student crisis;

• Have the Honor Board review processes and protocols around student conduct to examine practices that will best support students going through the conduct process.

Each of these goals have stemmed from productive conversations between students and administrators to create an even better community of care on our campus. This will be a group effort and while these initiatives address some concerns, complete campus engagement will have the most impact. We look forward to collaborating and seeing these goals fulfilled, and we ask students, faculty, and staff to work alongside us to provide improved resources and procedures to address mental health at WC.

The Student Government Association

The Office of Student Affairs

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