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Provost Weekly Update: March 25, 2016

Provost updates

Author: Chuck Klink, Ph.D.

The topic of this week's update is student mental health

Student mental health is a growing concern at modern universities. In recent national surveys, students report problems with increased levels of stress, anxiety and depression. Students here at VCU identified stress, sleep, anxiety, work and depression as the top five health issues negatively affecting their academic success (National College Health Assessment, 2014).

There is widespread speculation about the declines in university student emotional health related to a shift in student help-seeking behaviors, earlier mental health treatment for children, parenting styles, economic uncertainties, employment anxiety, environmental despair and more.

Whatever the reason, it isn’t uncommon for VCU faculty to encounter students in distress needing and relying on our assistance.

Although we often think of student mental health as a responsibility of our student affairs colleagues, it takes the participation of all faculty and staff to support students in identifying and pursuing resources on and off campus when needed. To that end, I encourage you to complete the online, interactive gatekeeper training, At-Risk for Faculty & Staff available on University Counseling Center’s website. This training is one of many resources available to train faculty on student support with issues of mental health.


VCU Provost Gail Hackett launched Provost's Weekly Update to provide regular communications on activities within academic affairs at VCU, as well as current issues or events related to academic affairs. This weekly update will launch on Fridays through spring Commencement (May 14, 2016) and relaunch in August to prepare for the fall semester. Join the conversation. Use #VCUProvost on Twitter and follow @VCUProvost