Collegiate mental health issues rising; NMU develops Wellbeing initiatives

Ayanna Allen

On Aug. 24, NMU’s Wellbeing website went live. Abigail Wyche, special advisor for campus mental health, introduced wellness initiatives in order to combat the increase in issues regarding students’ mental health. 

According to a study done by the National Library of Medicine, over half of college students had a psychiatric disorder in the past year. Additionally, the National Alliance on Mental Illness reported that 73% of college students experienced some form of mental health crisis.

Despite these alarming statistics, a report conducted in 2015 by the Center of Collegiate Mental Health found that only 25% of students struggling reached out for help. 

NMU’s Healthy Minds survey administered in the spring of 2021 revealed 70% of students needed help for their emotional and mental health problems in the past 12 months, while 81% had a current need for help. 

“It is also important that we are transparent about the fact that mental health needs of college students everywhere are on the rise,” Wyche said. “There is more NMU and institutions like ours can be doing to better match the services we have with those growing and changing needs.” 

The Wellbeing website’s purpose is to spread hope to students, employees and community members alike, Wyche said. The website not only provides resources such as helplines, therapy assistance and fitness programs, but also details NMU’s plan to enhance wellbeing on campus. 

The “NMU Wellbeing Enhancement Plan” has four main goals: access and awareness, leadership and integration, crisis response and continuous improvement. Each goal has accomplishments and 12 to 24-month strategies to help with completion. 

Additionally, each goal demonstrates an alignment with recommendations provided by the Haveman Report. The report provided suggestions to improve the quality of wellbeing and mental health services on NMU’s campus. 

“We will be updating the website regularly with our progress on our strategic wellbeing priorities and initiatives,” said Wyche. “We will also continue to use the news and events tab to promote campus activities in which students and employees can take part.”

For those who have suggestions or feedback for the wellbeing site, access that form here.