Image of Laurie Gedcke-Kerr

Laurie Gedcke-Kerr

Interim Associate Director, Undergraduate Programs

School of Nursing

Laurie Gedcke-Kerr greets every person who enters our lecture hall, oftentimes by name. She takes time at the beginning of each class to talk about our mental health. Laurie always encourages us to be active participants in upkeeping our mental health. She recognizes the various facets of life that impact us and is always willing to discuss accommodations or extensions. Laurie always wants to know your side of the story. She always wants to hear from you about what is going on. She wants to know if you're okay. While this may seem like simple actions for a professor to take, it is less expressed than it needs to be in my eyes.

Anonymous Student

Mental Health plays an important role in my life every day. In short, it means paying attention to the way I feel about myself from an emotional, social, and psychological perspective as these perceptions affect my abilities as a person, and how I feel about myself. When I am able to take care of my own mental health, I am also then able to live a positive, meaningful life and am able to also be there to help others. 

I try to support students' mental health by listening. I listen to what students are telling me about their feelings, thoughts and perceptions. Each week at the start of our class together, I do a 'check-in' that focuses on their physical and mental health. I talk about taking care of themselves first and reaching out for help if they feel overwhelmed. We discuss what a manageable amount of stress or anxiety feels like but also talk about recognizing when it becomes too much. I try to send email messages or post onQ announcements randomly to just let them know I am here if they need anything. Although many students do not reach out I do have a few messages back thanking me for checking in. As educators, we need to try and be aware of all the pressures and expectations students have. In addition to the pressures we feel as educators, students face similar feelings. I feel by understanding each other and working together as a team it will benefit us both. Showing kindness and caring are aspects of mental health that can make a difference in so many ways. 

--- Laurie Gedcke-Kerr