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Community College Daily: Supporting the mental health needs of rural students

By the YOU at College Team, 7/14/2022

Read the article on Community College Daily.

An op-ed published this week, written by Tina Hardy – Coordinator for the Center for Accessibility and Neurodiversity at Illinois Valley Community College – explores ways in which rural community colleges can support the unique mental health needs of their students. In the piece, Tina explores how IVCC’s multi-year relationship with YOU at College, partnering on YOU at IVCC and Nod has helped support existing campus programming, provided a layered approach to connecting students with vital resources, and ultimately created a healthier, more cohesive campus community. Check out some excerpts below to see what Tina said about our partnerships and click the link above to read the full article.

About YOU at IVCC:

“For context, research from 2021 shows that 48% of rural adults believe that those in their communities attach stigma to mental illness.

To counteract this, it is imperative that community colleges, specifically rural ones, provide confidential and anonymous avenues for students to seek tools and resources to support their mental health and well-being journeys. One avenue in which IVCC has accomplished this is through a multi-year partnership with YOU at College to create the YOU at IVCC platform. This tool provides our students with a confidential access point for personalized, evidence-based mental health and well-being tools, inclusive of IVCC campus resources.

We know this approach is working because we’ve seen more than 2,500 student registrations since we launched and over 3,500 resources viewed. This shows that students will seek help when given an opportunity to access relevant support in a trusted space.”

About their Nod partnership:

“Investing in tools to support student mental health and well-being has a tangible impact on both retention numbers and the overall financial stability of an institution. At IVCC, as we have expanded our investment in mental health support, we have equally sought innovative ways to build student connections to campus. One of the ways we’ve done this is through partnering with the Nod app as a way to help students build connections with one another.

Understanding that addressing loneliness has been an uphill challenge for many institutions like IVCC, and that students are still adjusting to a new normal due to the pandemic, the more we can meet our students with tools that help them build relationships, the more cohesive our campus community feels. Social skill-building tools like Nod have helped our students overcome hurdles in connecting with one another in meaningful ways since the early stages of the pandemic, and, in turn, have helped students become better connected with IVCC.”

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