Improving emotional wellness for students

first_imgAfter completing a 15-month inquiry, a special task force on student mental health this week released eight recommendations for ways the University can improve emotional wellness on campus by addressing a mix of academic, social, and institutional issues.The Task Force on Managing Student Mental Health was convened by Provost Alan M. Garber in February of 2019 to begin assessing and responding to significant increases in both student self-reports of mental health issues and the subsequent use of related services — upticks that reflected a national trend in higher education.“The Task Force has thoroughly examined the challenges that our students were facing even before the COVID-19 pandemic upended their lives,” Garber said. “The needs highlighted by this report — for greater connection, for wider adoption of and help with self-care, for more accessible support in dealing with everyday struggles as well as mental health conditions, and for better coordination of mental health strategies across the University — are made even more pressing by the uncertainty and isolation that everyone experiences now. At a time when mental health and well-being demand more of our attention than ever, the report points us toward steps we can take now.”The Task Force began its work by looking at existing data, gaining a solid understanding of the nature of mental health concerns among Harvard students. The group itself was large, consisting of 46 individuals from across the University’s Schools and units as well as outside experts. And it was diverse, including psychologists, psychiatrists, academics, experts on running institutions, and professionals who provide one-to-one support for students facing mental health issues, undergraduate and graduate students, and faculty members.“Our investigation confirmed that Harvard students are experiencing rising levels of depression and anxiety disorders, and high and widespread levels of anxiety, depression, loneliness, and other conditions,” wrote co-chairs Mario Small, Emma Dench, and Matt Nock. “In addition, undergraduates reported high levels of stress, overwork, concern about measuring up to peers, and inability to maintain healthy coping strategies. Extracurricular activities, rather than providing unqualified relief, often represented another source of competition and stress. Graduate and professional students reported high levels of isolation, uncertainty about academic and career prospects, and, among those in Ph.D. programs, financial insecurity and concerns about their relation to advisers. Students at all levels reported a lack of clarity about when, how, and where to seek help with potential mental health concerns. The problems we identified were not universal, but were sufficiently widespread to merit action.”After identifying and describing the scope of issues, the Task Force turned its attention to making suggestions for improvements. And while the project was not conceived as one that would be ongoing, the report points to the need for a continuing study of the community’s evolving needs and the resources necessary to meet them.The recommendations include:Tasking a small team within the Provost’s Office to work on student affairs University-wide. This team would coordinate the implementation of recommendations across the University and facilitate further study of issues where the Task Force was only able to scratch the surface.Launching a one-year campaign focused on mental health awareness and culture change, with the goal of cultivating an environment in which students feel encouraged and empowered to care for their mental, physical, and emotional well-being.Instituting a yearly messaging program focused on core elements of the first campaign.Creating a committee to explore ways to make Counseling and Mental Health Services (CAMHS) more accessible. These would include continuing to examine wait times and recent efforts to ensure a diverse and culturally sensitive counseling staff, while also exploring the potential of digital assessments and interventions.Examining how the University can address holistically issues of mental health, sexual climate, inclusiveness, isolation, and sense of belonging.Addressing any institutional service gaps that may have been created by recent organizational changes. The Task Force noted the importance of ensuring that CAMHS coordinate closely with the new Academic Resource Center of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) to ensure a seamless flow between the two entities.Creating a committee in FAS to explore how to reduce the stress caused by the process of competing for entry into extracurricular activities. The report notes that the practice of “comping” for clubs and extracurricular activities emerged throughout its research as a major stressor for undergraduate students. And while some competition may be necessary for certain clubs, there is space for making it less onerous and encouraging the creation of noncompetitive alternatives.Providing clear guidance and mentoring support to faculty and graduate students to ease the potential stress caused by adviser-advisee relationships. The report details the importance of these ties to graduate students’ careers and recommends several measures including 1) adopting an advising structure that diffuses power rather than concentrating it with one adviser; 2) clarifying expectations through the development of clear “rights and responsibilities” guidelines and workplace expectations; 3) encouraging mentorship training for faculty; 4) examining how hiring, promotion, and annual evaluation processes can be used to encourage better mentorship; and 5) considering the implications of student financial need for mental health.The Task Force met as a group for the last time in March. In the intervening months much has changed, including the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the events triggered by the death of George Floyd. It is anticipated that these, along with other, as-yet unforeseen events, will continue to alter the landscape of mental health at Harvard, and only increase the need for innovative programming. Provost convenes task force to address students’ psychological well-being “It is clear to us that the dramatic disruptions to social life created by the pandemic will affect, and in some cases worsen, the problems we have identified,” wrote the co-chairs. “Economic stress, high unemployment, social isolation, loss of life, and many other conditions produce grief, stress, loneliness, despair, and more. The University has and must continue to respond, both in the short term and in the long term.” And while the Task Force finished its work prior to the worldwide spread of COVID-19, the co-chairs “believe that our recommendations will prove essential for the University to implement as part of any response, not only to help understand the landscape in which the crisis reached us, but also to inform how to take the steps needed to return to some measure of normality.”“Our current challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic further accentuate the role of mental health and well-being in the student experience,” said Harvard University Health Services Executive Director Giang Nguyen. “All of us — students, faculty, and staff — are facing these challenges in different ways; as a community, it is so important for us to support each other, even if we are not in the same physical space. Students from marginalized communities have been hit particularly hard — our BIPOC [Black, indigenous, and people of color], LGBTQ, international, first-gen, low-income, and other minority students will need targeted support. The work of the Task Force is more important than ever.” A proactive response as student mental health issues increase at Harvard and nationwide Relatedlast_img read more

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Mountain Mama: Save Big Ivy

first_imgWhen office work leaves my soul numb or I can’t take another minute of parenting without losing it, the river grounds me. Whether I’m kayaking, running, or waterfall gaping, there’s something about the moving water that brings me back to feeling balanced when I have no idea how to get there on my own. It might be seeing a turtle, otter, or blue heron that reminds me of grace. Other days simply watching the flow of the water, reminding me to let go and simply be, is enough. The river has become my way of connecting with my own depths and contours, and the people I’ve met on rivers have become some of my closest friends.The river has become my sacred place in the world, and being out in nature acts like a salve for my pain. Mother Nature has a way of healing. Becoming a parent has enhanced my appreciation and gratitude for spending time outside, and as I’ve become more concerned about the legacy I’m leaving for my child and his generation than personal pursuits I’ve begun to ask myself – what have I done to heal the natural world that has given so much to me?I’m starting to explore my role as a steward for the outdoors and realizing my responsibility to speak for what cannot speak for itself. Rivers are a sacred place for me, and as I raise my son, I want to preserve wilderness areas for him so that he can open a guidebook or google recreation areas and experience the same sense of possibility of all the places out there to explore. I want to increase the odds that when he’s finding his own place in the world where he feels connected, nourished by the deep, abiding sense of belonging, that place is near crashing waves or between mountain or in the shadows of trees, not in front of a screen or in a mall or on the streets.I’ve been asking more questions – why am I here and am I doing enough? The question can sound so big, and yet my work at a non-profit the past four years has taught me that meaningful change begins with a smile or glance. We don’t save the world all at once, and when we think in those terms, getting started can be paralyzing.My beginning will be this Thursday night at 7 p.m. at a meeting with the Forest Service at the Big Ivy Community Center (540 Dillingham Road just 25 minutes from Asheville) to save the old-growth forest from logging. For more information, check out Friends of Big Ivy. I hope to see you there, making time and space in your own busy lives to protect the sacred places where we go for fun and play, to wonder and imagine.last_img read more

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RVP set for United return

first_img “It’s been great working with Wayne because he’s an excellent footballer,” he said. “I’ve said from day one he’s been great. “He had a very good game in midweek. “We want that form to continue. We want him to keep scoring goals. “He is a big plus for us just now. “I don’t think it’s me or anyone else. It’s Wayne Rooney. He had to make sure he was the best he could be and he’s done that. “He’s in good nick, his talent is unquestionable. “He’s physically very good, mentally in a good place and his form has been good.” After losing three times already this season, and recording only one victory in their four Premier League home games, United have fallen off the pace and head into the weekend eight points adrift of pacesetters Arsenal. Stoke manager Mark Hughes on Thursday suggested his old club could not afford any further slip-ups and that there was an air of vulnerability about them that did not exist under Sir Alex Ferguson. Evidently, Moyes does not agree. “That might be Mark’s opinion,” said Moyes. “He’s entitled to that but we’ll wait and see. “There’s only two months of the season gone and there will be a lot of slip-ups by teams between now and the end of the season. “We don’t want to lose many more if we can help it.” Manager David Moyes has confirmed Robin van Persie should be fit to return for Manchester United when the Premier League champions entertain Stoke. Van Persie sat out Wednesday’s Champions League victory over Real Sociedad with a combination of niggling problems. But it appears the Dutchman’s absence will be a brief one. “Robin has a good chance,” said Moyes. “He had a problem with his toes and a little bit with his groin. “But he has had a little bit of training as well and he should be okay.” Moyes confirmed experienced defenders Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand were also progressing well. However, England duo Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley remained on the sidelines. “Danny has fluid on his knee,” the Scot said. “Tom is still recovering from his calf.” Moyes refused to comment on reports United were set to offer striker Wayne Rooney a contract extension. However, the Scot did admit Rooney was in top form at present. Press Associationlast_img read more

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Cilic Loses to Pella in Second Round of Wimbledon

first_imgAnd the world number 82 held his nerve to convert his fourth match point and win 3-6 1-6 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 7-4It is the biggest win of Pella’s career and he is now in the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time.“The rain coming helped me a lot,” the 28-year-old, who had not won a match at Wimbledon in his two previous visits, told BBC Sport.“Yesterday he was playing so, so well and I couldn’t do anything.“Today, I started to play more aggressively and fight for every ball and that is why I won. Grass isn’t my favourite surface but I started to feel more confident and served a lot better.”On Friday, Pella will play American world number 103 Mackenzie Mcdonald who will also be making his first appearance in the last 32 of a major.“Every time you win a match in a Grand Slam it is a good feeling,” he added.“Tomorrow is a different match and we will both have pressure so it will be a tense match but I will try to be calm and win.”Cilic told BBC Sport that he struggled to find his fluency in the final two sets of the match.“Yesterday I played great, today not so and that is a big disappointment,” he said.“In the fourth I was struggling to find my rhythm, missing balls I hadn’t been missing earlier and not serving as well.“I was not as accurate and he was starting to play and serve better. I was giving him chances to keep going and he was also raising his level.”Three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka was another to be eliminated. The Swiss, who has dropped to 224 in the world after a series of injuries, lost 7-6 (9-7) 6-3 7-6 (8-6) to Italian qualifier Thomas Fabbiano.But there were no problems for Argentine fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro who only needed one hour and 34 minutes to beat Feliciano Lopez 6-4 6-1 6-2, winning 31 out of the 32 points behind a successful first serve (97%).US Open finalist and eighth seed Kevin Anderson advanced after a 6-3 6-7 6-3 6-4 victory over Fabbiano’s compatriot Andreas Seppi.American ninth seed John Isner sent down 64 aces in his five-set success against Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelmans – the third-highest number of aces in a match at Wimbledon after the 113 and 110 managed by Isner and Nicolas Mahut respectively in their record-breaking marathon encounter in 2010.And Australian Nick Kyrgios was warned for swearing in his straight-sets win over Dutchman Robin Haase.The 15th seed treated the crowd to some clever strokeplay and some trick shots on his way to a 6-3 6-4 7-5 triumph.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Third seed Marin Cilic let a two-set lead slip as he was knocked out in the second round of Wimbledon by Argentina’s Guido Pella.Last year’s beaten finalist was well in control before rain halted proceedings on Wednesday evening.But, on the resumption, Pella improved and wrapped up the third set and took the fourth on a tie-break.last_img read more

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NFL Honors 2019: Giants RB Saquon Barkley wins Offensive Rookie of the Year

first_img Super Bowl 53: Bill Belichick’s Patriots could easily be 0-8 in Super Bowls … or 8-0 Related News Saquon! @Giants RB @saquon Barkley is the 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year! #NFLHonors pic.twitter.com/K4t2OIZ9fG— NFL (@NFL) February 2, 2019Barkley led the NFL in yards from scrimmage as a rookie with 2,028. He rushed for 1,307 and 11 touchdowns while he hauled in 91 passes for 721 yards and another four scores. Giants rookie Saquon Barkley is the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, the NFL announced Saturday. The former Penn State star beat out Browns rookie QB Baker Mayfield for the award.That rookie season: 😱Offensive Rookie of the Year @Saquon Barkley’s 10 BEST plays of 2018! #NFLHonors pic.twitter.com/GHatV5JdAz— NFL (@NFL) February 2, 2019Mayfield went 6-7 as a starter for the Browns while throwing for 3,725 yards with 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in his first season. Super Bowl 53: Why the Patriots will win The 27 passing touchdowns are a rookie record.Barkley won a close race with 26.5 votes to 21.5 for Mayfield, according to Pro Football Talk.Colts rookie guard Quenton Nelson also received two votes.last_img read more

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