Image of Dr. Laura van Staalduinen

Dr. Laura van Staalduinen



Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences

Dr. Staalduinen always starts her class by asking how everyone is doing and genuinely cares about the answers of her students. She also always reminds us to take time to take care of ourselves and put our mental well-being and health first. She's very understanding and always willing to help where she can and very open to making accommodations, especially during times of high stress. Dr. Staalduinen reminds us to look at the positive and is never afraid to admit to making mistakes and doesn't make a big deal about them which helps students like me accept my own mistakes without stressing about them.

Dr. van Staalduinen has been an unwavering pillar of support for student well-being and mental health at Queen's, embodying the very essence of what it means to be a compassionate and understanding educator. I have experienced firsthand the profound impact of their commitment to fostering a supportive and inclusive learning environment. Dr. van Staalduinen consistently communicates the importance of mental health, making it clear through words and actions that our well-being is a priority. Their approach to teaching goes beyond academics - it's about nurturing a space where students feel genuinely seen and heard. This is evident in how Dr. van Staalduinen offers flexibility with assignments and deadlines, understanding that life's challenges can affect our academic performance and mental health. Moreover, their office hours are a testament to their approachability and dedication, providing a safe space for students to seek support, be it academic or personal.

The impact of Dr. van Staalduinen's actions on my mental health and overall academic journey has been nothing short of transformative. Their empathetic approach has not only alleviated stress but also fostered a sense of belonging and community within the classroom. It's a rare and invaluable feeling to know that your educator truly cares about your well-being. Dr. van Staalduinen's efforts have significantly contributed to a positive and nurturing educational experience. Their dedication to supporting student mental health is commendable.

Anonymous Students

Mental health is a part of a persons health that encompasses the psychological, emotional, and social factors. It impacts all facets of life, including how we can work, learn and interact with others. It exists on a continuum and is unique to each individual. Good mental health provides a foundation that makes stress and difficult situations more manageable. When we neglect our mental health, everything gets harder. As with our physical health, I believe that we also need to check in and maintain our mental health not only when things are bad but on a daily basis to maintain our mental fitness.

As an educator, I feel a responsibility to assist students and create an inclusive learning environment. I actively promote student mental well-being by listening, sharing relevant resources, and emphasizing the importance of prioritizing health. I incorporate regular check-ins during class to foster open conversations about mental health and connect with students regarding their overall well-being. I am also available if students need someone to talk to. I try to give timelines in advance, but also check in as deadlines approach in case students are being hit with multiple large assessments on the same day. If I can fairly adjust deadlines for the class and relieve some pressure, I am happy to do so.

Students deal with a lot that can impact their mental health. They are under a lot of pressure, and in my experience, their mental health becomes a low priority. For many, University is the most exciting time of their lives but it can also be very isolating. For students to get the most out of their education, I strongly believe that we must make student mental health a priority, and continue to work to break the stigma surrounding the topic.

--- Dr. Laura van Staalduinen