Ice, Ice Baby (and more)

Today’s Daily Deac is a joint effort with my colleague Dr. James Raper, Assistant Vice President for Health and Wellbeing. Before we get to the meat of that, need to share some weather news. We are under a winter weather warning beginning tonight through much of tomorrow. Ice is expected, and it could be significant with the expectation of extremely dangerous driving conditions and possible power outages.

Here are a few things to be aware of:

Our Call Center and COVID inbox are both staffed by University staff and administrators, many of whom are working from home during the pandemic. If our homes lose power, that could impact our ability to take calls or respond to emails during normal operating hours. If the Call Center cannot open (or is working with reduced callers), and you or your student has an issue that is urgent, please see our After Hours page for guidance.

For students at the hotels for quarantine or isolation, or those who used the declination of housing process to leave Winston-Salem: if they were scheduled to be released tomorrow, we are holding their releases until Friday. This decision was made to ensure we were not releasing students into dangerous conditions (either to drive themselves back to campus, or riding the shuttle from the hotels). 

For students quarantining in place in their rooms on campus and/or at the hotels, we are bringing them their Thursday breakfast and lunch tonight so we ensure they are fed even if we have issues with ice. (Students have mini-fridges that can store the food.) If your Deac is in this situation, remind them not to eat that food tonight 🙂

We also sent a message to students living off campus last night about how to prepare for the potential storm; read it here.

One of the ongoing themes we have heard in the Call Center and emails is families’  concern about students’ mental health (whether they are in quarantine or isolation, or just experiencing the anxiety that comes from the pandemic and living in non-normal times). Parents and families are often the recipients of phone calls/texts/IMs that share those anxieties and difficult emotions. As parents ourselves, we know that is hard to hear.

We wanted to share the key point upfront: we have a LOT of support in place for your students’ mental health and wellbeing. Sometimes it is difficult for students this age to take the step to opt in to some of these services, so we want to arm you today with information about what is available. If your students are contacting you to express they are struggling, you can help give them a bump to one of the numerous supports for student wellbeing that we have available for all students, free of charge:

University Counseling Center (UCC) –

The UCC provides confidential assessment, individual and group therapy, and referral to support resources both on campus and in the local community. 

Crisis assistance for urgent mental health needs is available anytime, from anywhere, by calling 336.758.5273.  During normal business hours, calling this number will allow students to reach an administrative assistant who can help to assess your needs or schedule/reschedule appointments. After-hours and on weekends, this number will connect students with a crisis counselor.

Chaplain’s Office

We have a vibrant MindfulWake program, which offers Koru Mindfulness Basic and 2.0 classes and Mindfulness-based one-on-one coaching.  

There are Spritual/Religious Affinity Groups offering both small and larger group virtual gatherings. 

Our chaplains also provide confidential one-on-one pastoral care and support.

Office of Wellbeing

Both Traditional (i.e., regular meetings) and Drop-In Wellbeing Coaching are available. We also offer virtual office hours for students who want a brief check in. 

There is also a Thrive Remotely website to help give students ideas on where to begin with various wellbeing areas like anxiety, gratitude, or help with sleep.

We have a variety of ResilientWake offerings, including short courses, a skill share, and ResilientWake Live Mondays at 4 pm.

We also have a Collegiate Recovery Community. Meetings are available, and students who are looking for support to reduce their alcohol use can also self-refer for BASICS appointments at basics@nullwfu.edu.

Move More Move Often is open now as well (new collaboration with Campus Rec).

Campus Recreation

Campus Recreation live streams about 3 dozen fitness classes a week including yoga, pilates, Zumba, barre, and others.  Here is a link to the group fitness weekly schedule with links to register for the classes.

Wake Forest is participating in Rec Movement along with over 100 colleges and universities.  WFU students who register with Rec Movement have access to a plethora of live streamed and prerecorded fitness classes and workouts from campuses across the country.

Through Wake Forest’s partnership with Les Mills, students can register for a free 30-day trial to access 1000+ Les Mills on-demand workouts in different formats and skill levels.

Wake Forest has plenty of places to walk and run.  There are some suggested routes on campus running and biking trails web page.  The cross country running trails on the west side of campus are a wonderful place to go for a run; they’re best accessed off Carroll Weathers Drive.  The Reynolda Village has beautiful trails for running, walking, and bird watching.

Campus Recreation has personal trainers who are available to provide personalized fitness coaching with students remotely through video conferencing.  This is a paid service available through Deacs on Demand.

The Thrive Remotely web page provides recommendations on physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing resources.

Learning Assistance Center and Disability Services

The LAC-DS offers academic coaching and peer tutoring

They have begun offering drop in tutoring and virtual study rooms to assist students with finding a sense of virtual community as they study.

Safe Office

The Safe Office assists survivors of interpersonal violence by offering crisis support 24/7, as well as accompaniment in navigating university and community systems related to interpersonal violence.

Specifically for Students in Isolation or Quarantine

For our students in quarantine or isolation, we have a host of wellbeing resources and encourage them to utilize these services.

It is normally our guidance to families to encourage your students to tackle their problems themselves and find their own solutions without your help – and that still applies! You’ve likely heard from a variety of faculty and administrators about the importance of being present as a “consultant” rather than a “director.” This gives students developmentally-appropriate and necessary opportunities to navigate systems and learn to advocate for themselves. It also presents us as parents or family members with the “opportunity” to notice our own anxiety or distress that can come from being used to taking a more active role in parenting earlier in our student’s life. The great news is that they are doing so in a system that is built specifically for college students, and staffed by professionals that understand that students are still practicing that self advocacy. It’s really giving your student the gift that keeps on giving for the rest of their lives. 

However, there are times – that are both timeless and are specific to our unique pandemic-influenced situation – where families need to step in and help students in a more direct fashion. Significant mental health challenges can make it particularly difficult to get the help one needs. If you are really concerned about your student’s mental health and aren’t reassured that they are navigating our campus resources, then we do encourage you to step in more directly to initiate those connections. 

That kind of conversation can sound like: “I’ve noticed X [something concrete/objective: you seem more tired; more down; we aren’t talking as frequently etc.] and I’m concerned.  I know there are a lot of support offices on campus like Y [specific resource: the University Counseling Center, Learning Assistance Center, etc.], and I’d like for us to call them together.”  When you find yourselves in this situation, those direct conversations with your specific observations can really get things going in the right direction for your student.

 

— by Betsy Chapman, Ph.D. (’92, MA ’94) and James Raper, Ph.D., LCMHC-S

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