Strategic Plan for Student Mental Health and Well-Being

A message to the community announcing a new strategic plan for student mental health and well-being. 

Dear Dartmouth community,

We know that the healthier we are, the better we can learn, connect, and reach our potential. As President Sian Leah Beilock described in her Inaugural address, improving the campus environment and increasing support for student health and well-being is a priority for her, her senior leadership team, and the entire institution.

Together, we have already taken significant steps to meet this commitment. They include the student-driven introduction of 24/7 teletherapy, elimination of fees for overnight observation at the infirmary, and the launch of a new time away policy. Soon, we will name a new chief health and wellness officer who will join the senior leadership team and serve as a key adviser on the health and well-being ofstudents, staff, and faculty.

Today, I am pleased to unveil Commitment to Care: Dartmouth's Strategic Plan for Student Mental Health and Well-Being, which addresses graduate, professional, and undergraduate student mental health. This vital plan considers our mental health review findings, feedback from the Jed Foundation, best practices from other institutions, and the viewpoints and deep engagement of many students, staff, and faculty across Dartmouth. 

In the plan, we clarify our vision, define goals and strategies, and commit to specific and immediate actions as well as long-term initiatives that will assess and enhance the Dartmouth ecosystem, physical infrastructure, student support systems, and our campus surroundings. The underlying actions will help us realize our vision to be a caring, inclusive community that prioritizes mental health and well-being and equips all students with the resources and skills to thrive at Dartmouth and after graduation.

Commitment to Care encompasses actions already underway and that will continue through this academic year and beyond. Some will be highly visible, such as a centralized website that serves as a hub for mental health and well-being resources and information, while others will unfold more quietly and require more time, input, and careful assessment prior to implementation.

The five strategic goals of Commitment to Care are:

  1. To center well-being in all we do, both inside and outside of the classroom;
  2. To create an inclusive community to foster mental health and well-being for students with diverse lived experiences;
  3. To equip students with the resources and skills to navigate both success and failure with strength and confidence;
  4. To proactively work with those experiencing mental illness to aid students in reaching their goals; and
  5. To invest in innovative applications of evidence-based approaches to respond to changing environments and needs.

The plan document elaborates on each—and lists the first strategic actions Dartmouth will pursue to achieve these important goals.

We plan to host a town hall later this term to give the community an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. We expect to share more details in the coming weeks.

I would like to extend my gratitude to the many of you who have played pivotal roles in the development of the plan, with a special acknowledgment to theundergraduate, graduate, and professional school students who dedicated countless hours contributing to the important work done by the committees and thefocus groups, and to everyone who helped us review and vet the plan and its actions. I would also like to express my deepest appreciation to Matt Duncan, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Geisel School of Medicine, and Katie Lenhoff, JED Campus project manager, for their dedication and leadership in bringing this plan to fruition.

Commitment to Care is an important step in supporting the health and well-being ofall Dartmouth students. We believe it will make essential and significant changes in our campus culture and environment.   



David Kotz '86