SGA working to require mental health resources in syllabi, starting fall 2021

By Kelsey Braun ’22, Editor in Chief

The Health & Wellness Center on the St. John Fisher College Campus. (Photo by Madison Weber)

By Kelsey Braun ’22, Editor in Chief

St. John Fisher College’s Student Government Association is currently in the process of getting approval that would require faculty to include mental health resources offered by the campus in all syllabi, starting in the fall 2021 semester.

According to the resolution drafted by the SGA, with help from the Health and Wellness center, “31% of the student body is unaware of mental health resources offered on campus.”

Wegmans School of Nursing Senator, Matthew Cieplicki said, “We were asking our peers and a lot of them didn’t know about all of the mental health resources that are available.” Cieplicki is one of the student government senators who worked closely to get the resolution passed in the SGA.

Upon further research while drafting the resolution, it was found that “78.07% of students at St. John Fisher College reported to have concerns with their mental health the majority of the time while on campus.”

SGA President Michael Lilholt said an inspiration for the draft came from  a similar resolution at the University of Georgia that was implemented for the school’s fall 2020 semester. After benchmarking and gathering research from other institutions, the SGA began the process of drawing up a statement that would be implemented in all syllabi at the start of the fall 2021 semester.

SGA wants to include the following statement and resources on every syllabus:

College is a time of transition and growth. It is typical to experience situations that may necessitate additional support. It is okay to feel overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, etc. These emotions are natural parts of living, and addressing them properly shows resilience and strength.

For your benefit, below are various free and confidential resources to support you:

  • If you or someone you know needs emergency mental health assistance, please contact the Office of Safety and Security at (585) 385-8111. During the academic year, there is an on-call counselor that may be contacted to assist in assessing the urgency of the situation. This individual is accessed through the Office of Safety and Security or a residential director.
  • Fisher Care is a 24/7 telehealth platform. Through this service, any full time undergraduate student can connect with medical care or brief counseling support. We encourage all students to create an account now, in case there is a need to use in the future.
  • The Counseling Center page on sjfc.edu has been enhanced and includes information on how students can schedule a first time appointment. This page also explains the services offered and when it might be necessary to refer a student off campus.
  • Other educational resources and services can be accessed here.

Other resources:

  • If you are looking for non-professional, peer to peer support, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is Fisher’s on campus mental health club.

For more information reach out to the Director of Student Engagement and Inclusion, Amanda Metzger, ametzger@sjfc.edu.

“Fisher has all these fantastic resources,” said Lilholt. “Mental health is such a big thing, especially with the pandemic. We want to find a way to give students the opportunity to utilize the great resources we have on campus.”

Currently, the resolution has total support from the SGA and is in the process of getting voted approval from the faculty assembly. According to Lilholt, when the resolution goes to the school’s administration for approval, showing support from both students and faculty would be ideal.

“It’s looking really good, we’re super confident that there’s going to be really no issues on getting it passed and required for next semester,” said Cieplicki.

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