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Assessing mental health at Rollins

The Wellness Center has sent out an anonymous mental health survey to students to determine the best way to improve mental wellness on campus. Although there is much controversy surrounding the personal nature of the survey questions, the Wellness Center assures students that this information will not be associated with any names and encourages students to participate.

In an interview, Assistant Director of Health Promotions Cristelle Garnier explained, “This year we are administrating the Healthy Minds Survey through Qualtrics to ensure that all participants are members of the Rollins community.” As confidentiality is the number one priority of the Wellness Center, the information gathered from the survey participants will solely be used to calculate numerical statistics about the general welfare of Rollins students.

Garnier elaborated on the confidentiality of Qualtrics, stating, “Qualtrics will ask participants for their username and password to access the survey, but will not release any individual’s information, as it would be in violation of confidentiality.”

However, some students are still uncomfortable with the survey’s questions and think that it is too time consuming. According to Lauren Bishop ’19, “The survey was too personal and asked questions about parents’ income and college education, which I think crosses a line with student privacy.”

It is encouraged that students take part in this survey, as tedious as it may be perceived, because completing this mainly multiple-choice test will only benefit the mental health of students as a whole. As Garnier explained, “We do this to compare data and make improvements based on the results.”

Based on the survey data, the Wellness Center can have a better idea of how to approach programs that would benefit students, including tabling and street fair events that spread awareness baed on student-specific mental health issues. Furthermore, these programs help fight the negative stigmas associated with depression and anorexia as well as other mental disorder that develop under the stress and pressure of college life.

The 2015 Healthy Minds Survey generated useful results that significantly aided the Wellness Center in deciding main focus points for educating the Rollins community. The leading trends amongst students who partook in the survey were troubles sleeping, body image problems, anxiety, stress, and depression.

In her interview, Garnier stressed that the ultimate goal of events such as the Wellness Street Fair, Fresh Check Day, and B.A.C to School is to educate students about healthy coping mechanisms and warn against negative behaviors. For example, relying on substances like alcohol to relieve stress can consequentially lead to depressive symptoms in young adults, so it is truly invaluable to remain aware and in-touch with personal concerns related to mental wellness. Stigmas surrounding mental health create barriers that prevent students from feeling comfortable visiting Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), making it important for the Wellness Center to find ways to alter this mindset.

There are many healthy ways to manage anxiety when navigating the ups and downs of academics in addition to the social pressures of daily life. A helpful first step is to take advantage of the resources in the Wellness Center, which are completely confidential and available for all who seek them.

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