Enriching Campus Wellbeing

Tammy Wyatt, Vice Provost for Student Success and Chair of the Enriching Campus Wellbeing Initiative

The suicide death of one of our students this past semester has served as a tragic reminder of the personal struggles many of our fellow Roadrunners face in their lives and of the imperative we all share to work together for the wellbeing of our campus community.

A recent study of UTSA students by the American College Health Association (ACHA) found that, at some point during the previous 12 months, 77% of our students reported feeling overwhelmed by all they had to do. In that same survey, 53% reported feeling overwhelming anxiety and 34% reporting feeling so depressed at times that it was difficult for them to function.

These dramatic statistics are not limited to UTSA. They reflect the pressures college students everywhere face in their academic journey.

We have a tremendous responsibility and obligation to act. That is why we have launched a new initiative recognizing the intrinsic role that health and wellness play in a student’s academic and personal success. The President’s Initiative on Enriching Campus Wellbeing, announced in January, is intended to foster an institution-wide culture of physical, emotional and social wellbeing.

To help alleviate the daily pressures our students face and to improve the overarching health and wellness of our UTSA community, the wellbeing initiative will focus heavily on mental health. In the days to come, a task force will look broadly at eight dimensions of wellbeing as endorsed by several leading higher education associations. These include physical, social, spiritual, environmental, financial, occupational, psychological and intellectual wellbeing. Student input will be integral to this fact-finding and the development of next steps.

President Eighmy has already been deeply involved in this effort, engaging with students who have shared valuable perspective on potential action items, including:
Evaluating counselor-to-student ratios
Improving timely access to counselors
Introducing counseling services information into course syllabi and new student information
Increasing support training for professors and staff

Throughout this initiative, UTSA will model best practices among our peer institutions while also adopting a culturally competent approach that aligns with being a Hispanic-thriving institution.
National and UTSA data from ACHA’s National College Health Assessment will be used as benchmarks of our progress.

The greatest action we can take to honor the memory of our fellow student is to recognize that, by working together on this imperative, we can make a real difference in addressing the emotional and physical wellbeing of our campus community. I encourage you to get involved. Share your ideas at [email protected]. We’ll also be announcing dates for campus meetings later this month.

And most importantly, if you are a student facing a difficult situation, I implore you to seek help. Use the Counseling Services available to you by calling 210-458-4140. This number also serves as our Crisis Helpline and is available for after hours and weekend assistance, including on UTSA holidays.