Ten Actions for 2022-2023
Dartmouth has created a new position for a chief health and wellness officer (CHWO). They will hire this position soon to lead work for student, staff, and faculty health and well-being.
The CHWO will report directly to President Beilock and will oversee the Dartmouth College Health Service (Dick’s House Primary Care, Counseling Center, Inpatient Nursing Department, Pharmacy), the Student Wellness Center, and Wellness at Dartmouth program will move under the CHWO. The CHWO Office will meet regularly with representative leaders of Dartmouth’s student governments and work with other stakeholders across campus to build stronger health communications systems with students, staff, and faculty.
Dartmouth has eliminated the fees for overnight observation at the Dick’s House Inpatient Nursing Department.
To identify and support students with health and safety risks, Dartmouth is also creating a harm-reduction coordinator position in the Student Wellness Center, piloting a hazing prevention training for undergraduates participating in Greek Life and Student Societies, and asking additional evidence-based suicide screening questions using the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale in Dartmouth’s primary care clinic. DCHS already performs routine mental health and safety screenings at all student visits.
The updated Time Away from Dartmouth policy will include the hiring of a time away director to assist students who are considering taking time away, taking time away, and returning to Dartmouth.
The updated policy also offers students taking time away for medical reasons extended time on the Dartmouth Student Group Health Plan (paid for by Dartmouth for students with demonstrated financial need) and email access for two years. With ongoing Dartmouth email access, students taking time away can access no-cost teletherapy through Uwill, as well as remote library services.
Dartmouth will continue to invest in mental health education for faculty and staff and will develop a policy for equipping newly hired faculty and staff with skills for recognizing when students may be experiencing a mental health challenge and linking students to resources.
Last year, Dartmouth trained 429 faculty and staff in Dartmouth Campus Connect Suicide Prevention Training (167), Creating a Culture of Care (149) and Adult Mental Health First Aid (125). Dartmouth will also develop strategies for incentivizing faculty and staff participation in other effective skill-building trainings that support high-quality mentoring, advising, and teaching (e.g., Universal Design, Motivational Interviewing).
Dartmouth will continue a systematic review of organizational structures to assess the equity of staffing focused on mental health and well-being across all student cohorts.
Sufficient staffing is essential to ensure equitable access to enriching programming. This work will review the capacity of staff to coordinate wellbeing programs across the undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools, in the Tucker Center for Spiritual and Ethical Living, and in the Outdoor Programs Office.
Dartmouth will begin assessing our academic calendars to understand their effects on student mental health and well-being and identify opportunities to strengthen the mental health environment at Dartmouth, with input from students, staff, and faculty.
This will include examining the undergraduate quarter system and D-Plan and the calendars for each of the four graduate and professional schools. Comprehensively assessing the calendars and acting on the findings is a process that will take multiple years, and will begin this year.
Dartmouth will conduct data-informed stakeholder engagement sessions with students with diverse lived experiences to vet evidence-based practices for potential implementation at Dartmouth.
As part of this process, we also aim to draw out other strengths-based strategies for supporting student mental health and well-being. This will enable students to provide input into the relevance and desirability of potential actions for supporting specific communities within Dartmouth and offer insight into how those actions can best be implemented to meet student needs. Stakeholder groups will be identified and engaged using data-informed approaches, for example, using Healthy Minds Study data to help inform the sequencing of stakeholder engagement.
Dartmouth will assess gaps in peer support.
Peer support is a strength at Dartmouth. The Mental Health Student Union, Sexual Violence Prevention Project (SVPP), Sexual Assault Peer Alliance (SAPA), Geisel Wellness Representatives, Geisel Student Needs and Assistance Program (SNAP) representatives, and the Tuck Mental Health and Wellness Initiative are some of the peer-support structures most explicitly focused on student mental health and well-being. Many other peer support systems play important roles in supporting student mental health and well-being, too. We will assess these programs and determine whether any need to be adjusted, expanded, or created to better cover student needs. Based on program evaluation and research findings to-date that demonstrate the efficacy of Dartmouth’s unique Sexual Violence Prevention Project (SVPP), staffing will be increased to facilitate the development of the undergraduate junior year SVPP curriculum.
Dartmouth will develop a comprehensive, cohesive website for student mental health and well-being.
This website will bring together information from across the undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools to make it easier for students to identify the resources available to them. Resources included will range from preventative mental health and well-being options to resources for urgent needs.
Dartmouth will define a set of metrics to track progress of this plan’s implementation and a system to collect and analyze those metrics.
This work will enable the evaluation of pilot projects noted in this strategic plan, development of our multi-year strategic plan assessment, and regular sharing of progress with the community.