Q&A with Chancellor DiStefano
May I ask you a personal question? What keeps you up at night?
The mental health and wellness of our students.
I would have guessed budget, student retention, graduation rates. Why mental health and wellness?
Students are our top priority. Students today experience rapid changes in technology, social climate and global disruption — all creating stresses. The effect of these stresses is increasingly a national and global health issue.
What brought this to the forefront for you?
Demand for mental health services on college campuses is on the rise, including at CU Boulder. Since 2013, we have seen a 40 percent increase in demand for counseling services, which is in line with campuses nationwide.
What can you do about it?
We have begun to engage students about campus mental health and services from the moment they confirm their enrollment. And we have expanded our suite of services, including walk-in appointments, tele-health appointment options, unlimited workshops and group sessions, crisis intervention and one-on-one counseling and therapy depending on individual needs.
What are you doing regarding research in this area?
As a top research university, we are also approaching one of the most challenging social issues of our day from a research perspective. The new Renée Crown Wellness Institute opened last spring. Faculty in the institute are leaders and innovators in their fields and are internationally recognized for their work. This institute will help create a world where our children and young people are supported by the relationships and resources needed for a lifetime of wellness.
It seems the entire campus is involved.
On campus, each of us plays a critical role in supporting the health of our students. Supporting our students is the responsibility of us all. Education and training are being offered to faculty and staff to better understand the needs of students.
I can tell this is a heartfelt priority for you.
Our top priority is the safety and well-being of our students. We want them to succeed academically, and in every other way.
Illustration by Melinda Josie