Susan is helpful and understanding. I feel that Susan has been especially accommodating with all of the mental health issues and specifically extenuating circumstances I have been dealing with - she showed me that Smith really does care about the wellbeing of their students!
Mental health is the core of our overall wellbeing and the foundation of our ability to learn, engage our passions, experience joy, and contribute to the world around us.
I think the first thing is to listen, and allow students to be heard. I try to give students the message that their health desserves to be a top priority; everything else will follow. Practically, I try to involve students in developing a plan to help them get them back on track, and to check in with them along the way. I encourage students to reach out to their other professors and support staff, and relevant student resources, to know where they can go for help and that they are not alone.
We have a lot of resources on campus to support mental health. However, as faculty and staff, it is important that we also recognize that when students are struggling, it is not always easy for them to reach out to those resources. Collectively, the more we know our students, the more we notice when students are falling behind, or missing class, the more we actively reach out to check in and follow up, and the easier it becomes to connect students to resources. Sometimes just noticing, and letting students know you care, can make all the difference.
--- Dr. Susan Bartholomew