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Promoting Student Mental Health & Well-Being in Any Discipline

Dr. Joab Corey shares proven tips for fostering student well-being using virtual break rooms.

In the realm of higher education, prioritizing student mental health and well-being goes beyond subject boundaries. Educators play a crucial role in creating a supportive learning environment that fosters students’ overall development.

This video offers valuable ways to integrate mental health support into your teaching methods. By understanding the connection between well-being and academic success, you can provide students with the tools needed to thrive intellectually and emotionally. Use the key takeaways below to guide you.

6 Key Takeaways from the Video

1. Promote Physical Health in Class

During the 2020-2021 school year, over 60% of college students experienced mental health problems, with almost three quarters reporting psychological distress. Physical activity levels among college students have decreased during the pandemic, and research shows that most students are not meeting physical activity guidelines, prompting the speaker, Dr. Corey, to explore ways to promote physical health in his classes.

2. Utilize Virtual Break Rooms

Virtual break rooms are a valuable addition to online learning platforms as they provide a safe space for students to relax and take a breather, boosting their mood and preventing mental and physical exhaustion. Virtual break rooms also show that the professor cares about their students and makes the class feel more inviting. The implementation of virtual break rooms in the winter quarter resulted in lower drop, fail, and withdrawal rates (DFW) compared to previous quarters with identical lecture videos and module setups.

3. Provide Mental Health Resources in Your Syllabus

Include information about mental health services on your syllabus and course site homepage to promote student well-being, as research shows that a significant percentage of college students learn about these services from their instructors.

4. Try Digital Escape Rooms to Foster Community

Engaging students in a four-phase process involving problem-solving, reflection, meaningful construction of solutions, and application of knowledge through digital escape rooms can promote student mental and physical health, increase cognition, and foster a sense of community among classmates. DitchThatTextbook offers free digital escape rooms and a collection of others for a one-time fee of $19.

5. Shorten Your Modules

Shorter module blocks can help reduce stress and make the workload feel more manageable, and having a separate section for optional break rooms within each module can be a beneficial addition to the class.

6. Incorporate Breaks

Incorporating relaxation breaks, such as guided meditation or breathing exercises, can also enhance student mental health and cognitive abilities.

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