FSU Launches Interactive Toolkit to Bolster Student Mental Health

October 24, 2018

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Florida State University (FSU) launched a program this fall for all incoming freshman and transfer students to help them adjust to and thrive at college. The interactive, multimedia Student Resilience Project is an evidence-informed toolkit designed to strengthen student emotional and academic coping skills.

The top three challenges to academic success that students face are stress, anxiety, and sleep problems, FSU’s Healthy Campus initiative found in a 2017 report. Many students also arrive at campus with traumatic experiences in their past that may affect their college experience. For example, over 100 graduates of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where the Feb. 14 Parkland shooting took place, are attending FSU this fall.

The Student Resilience Project is designed to provide accessible and thorough resources to encourage personal growth and wellness in the face of such issues. It consists of a toolkit developed by the Institute for Family Violence Studies at the FSU College of Social Work, with input from students. Topics range from tips on relaxation and better sleep to discussions of grief, loss, and depression.

Student Resilience website
Among the requirements of the Student Resilience project, all incoming students must listen to at least two audio recordings from expert faculty like the ones above, which also come with transcripts for the hearing impaired. Image credit: Florida State University, used with permission.

“At FSU we have some of the most talented, engaging and caring faculty who are very excited about this project,” said Karen Oehme, director of the Institute for Family Violence Studies. “It’s been inspiring to hear from these campus rock stars who know that they can’t teach every single student on campus but have good stuff to share. They’ve reached out to us during the design phase to ensure that this project is well-rounded and filled with lots of valuable content so students really understand that FSU cares about them.”

The project was well received by the campus community, and institutions across the United States and even abroad have shown interest in replicating the program for their own campuses. Oehme plans to present a free webinar in November on opportunities for other institutions to collaborate or adapt the FSU materials. The creators are also considering expanding the toolkit to address issues specific to graduate and international students.

—Carly O’Connell

At a Glance

Member Institution: Florida State University

Initiative: Student Resilience Project

Goal: Encourage wellness by helping students learn to manage stress in healthy ways and increase their sense of belonging.

Become a member: As a member of ACE, you join nearly 1,800 organizations that collectively promote, protect and advocate for students, faculty and administrators in higher education. ACE is the most visible and influential higher education association in the nation, and we are at the center of federal policy debates concerning legislation that affects campuses across the country. See more on the ACE website.

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