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Spring wellness day and mental health updates

Campus fall scene in the walkway beside Hanes Art Center on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. November 16, 2021. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Dear Carolina Community,

As we wrap up the semester, we wanted to take a moment to thank our students, faculty and staff for all you’ve done to make an on-campus experience possible. From following our community standards to getting vaccinated, you are the reason for our success. We know it hasn’t been easy, and we are grateful for the ways you’ve shown resilience, perseverance and a commitment to one another.

Recently, more than 750 Carolina students, faculty, staff and parents came together at a Mental Health Summit to discuss the mental health needs of our community. We appreciated hearing from so many representatives and for everyone’s openness and honesty about these challenges. We are committed to building on the great work of the Mental Health Task Force and identifying solutions to continue responding to this crisis on our campus and in our nation.

We recognize the need for sustained mental health and well-being throughout the academic year, and we are pleased to announce that in spring 2022, students will observe Thursday, April 14, as a wellness day. Please note that instructors may not hold class, administer tests or other assessments, collect papers or assign new work on this day. Additionally, this wellness day falls just before the University’s spring holiday on April 15, and we hope that students will take advantage of this extended break. While we would have liked to have added more wellness days for spring 2022, this year’s academic calendar simply could not accommodate it. However, in the 2022-23 academic year, we plan to add multiple wellness days to the calendar. We are working to finalize those details and will share them as soon as possible. For faculty and staff working on April 14, we’ll identify ways to promote health and wellness and will share those details later.

We also wanted to let you know that we are extending the Mental Health First Aid Training program offered by the School of Social Work through November 2022. This training, open to all members of our community, equips individuals with critical skills to help others who are experiencing a mental health crisis, respond to substance use disorders and identify professional resources that can provide additional care. We will add more training dates soon and encourage everyone to sign up for this highly regarded program.

Many students expressed concerns about a waitlist at CAPS for individual therapy, and we wanted to share that the waitlist was eliminated thanks in part to a new telehealth service called Uwill, which specializes in mental health care for students. This partnership allows CAPS to connect students with either a CAPS or a Uwill therapist as quickly as possible.

Planning for additional mental health resources and programming in 2022 has begun, and we would like to hear your thoughts. If you were not able to attend the summit and would like to provide feedback, please share it with us. And if you attended the event and have follow-up ideas, let us know. The form will be open until Dec. 15. All of the recorded sessions from the summit are now posted for viewing and you may read The Well’s coverage of the event and mental health issues.

Finally, we want to express our thanks for your dedication to the vital topic of mental health and well-being. This important work belongs to us all, and we remain grateful for your support of our community.

 

Sincerely,

Kevin M. Guskiewicz
Chancellor

Robert A. Blouin
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

Amy Johnson
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

 

This message is sponsored by: Office of the Chancellor