SLU Observes Second Mental Health Day

On Jan. 3, Provost Mike Lewis, Ph.D., sent an email to the SLU student body stating that Feb. 11 was to be a dedicated mental health day. The plan was to use the day as a refresher for attaining a healthy mindset through several on-campus activities. 

     All classes were canceled that day with the exception of students in the School of Medicine and School of Law, who were not guaranteed a day off due to their curriculum guidelines. The university, however, remained open for its regular operations. After a fall semester that resulted in the loss of two students, Lewis explained that the well-being day was necessary since there are no scheduled days off the first eight weeks of the spring semester. He also explained that the Omicron variant is a huge factor in contributing to increased anxiety amongst students this semester.

Lewis considered the set schedule for undergraduate and graduate students and asked professors to alter their class accordingly. He also asked for a more organized class plan to allow students to keep up with their schoolwork without bringing back the stress once classes resumed. Lewis concluded the email saying, “As we look to future academic years, we expect to adjust academic calendars to allow for more of these well-being days. I hope to announce changes for next academic year before planning begins.”

     Students were highly encouraged to attend in-person or online training sessions held by the ComPsych Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

which helps students deal with 

difficult personal situations. The versatility of this program allows students to choose the topic they need assistance on and attend sessions accordingly. Students were also encouraged to attend counseling sessions. The University Counseling Center offers ten free sessions for all undergraduate, graduate, law and medical students, whether attending full or part-time. In these sessions, students can discuss a variety of issues with a licensed professional.

     Other programs such as the SLU Medical Plan Resources and the SSM Behavioral Health Urgent Care offered additional services to students on the mental health day. These support systems are mostly free of charge or low-cost, allowing easier access for those who need them. The Simon Recreation Center also allowed members to bring one guest for free. The wellness day was finalized according to the Student Well-being Taskforce, a group of students, staff and faculty members who work to support students’ needs and concerns. They do so by interacting with students and turning their recommendations into actions on campus. The Student Well-Being Task Force is open to recommendations through an online form that can be submitted anonymously by anyone who is affiliated with SLU. This ensures that all students and staff have an equal opportunity to express their needs in regards to mental health.