Roles of Key Individuals & Groups
One important potential protective factor for student mental health is a consistent relationship with another person. At Cornell, there are people in a variety of roles who can provide consistent contact with students.
By promoting a campus culture of health and working to demonstrate balance in your own life, you can distinguish yourself as a "go-to" resource for students. You don't need to be a yoga master or run a marathon to demonstrate a commitment to health and wellbeing. There are many ways to embody the sense of being a part of a caring community. Here are a few:
- Make prevention education/health information available in your work areas. Lots of materials are available from Gannett Health Promotion.
- Model and share stress management techniques/practices. This can be as simple as asking a student or colleague to join you in a walk around Beebe Lake.
- Challenge misperceptions about stress.
- Be an advocate for student health:
- help students identify when they could benefit from support services
- encourage students to get timely assistance
- consult with Gannett to express concerns or to elicit support
- Establish yourself as a resource when times are good; you'll find it easier to help when problems arise. All members of the Cornell community are a part of our student support network. We can notice others exhibiting early warning signs of distress, engage them in conversation, and offer support and resources. We can also consult with other community members in order to best serve the student in need.
Community members are not expected to take on the role of therapist. However, when we notice students in distress, we each have the ability to respond in accordance with our professional role.
"Helping people 'notice and respond' is goal of mental health awareness efforts" (Cornell Chronicle, 09.09.09). Read article.
Read more about how employees work together to identify and assist students in distress "Safety School: Bucking Privacy Concerns, Cornell Acts as Watchdog." (The Wall Street Journal)