2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Board 188: Student-centered and led approaches for improving Mental Health

Presented at Student Division (STDT) Poster Session

This paper reports on the background and initial results of an initiative to make significant positive changes to the culture in an engineering college by implementing and supporting students, their mental health, and their sense of belonging within the college. A key feature of this paper is to share our experience with the community and inspire action to reduce the stigma around having a mental health challenge, to normalize the conversation within our programs, and remove barriers to getting the needed support. Students, faculty, and staff within the college of engineering have made several strides toward this goal. The most notable to date is launching a student organization focused on reducing stigmas around mental health in engineering and providing resources to engineering students (ERASe – Engineers Reducing Anxiety/Stress/etc.). This organization is run by engineering students and supports engineering students by creating opportunities to have open dialog, practicing mindfulness/wellness activities, and guiding others through best practices. ERASe leads and partners with the college initiatives to support students’ well-being, such as wellness week. The authors of this paper include the faculty advisor and students responsible for leading ERASe. Reflections from these experiences will be shared. The college DEIAB committee has created ‘Belonging Grants’ to provide financial support for those seeking opportunities to create a sense of belonging. In an effort to support the students in ERASe and others in our classrooms, several faculty/staff have completed a Mental Health First Aid training. This has helped equip faculty to engage students through activities like mindfulness moments at the beginning of a class to encourage conversations and provide resources as needed. These are all examples of how the college is seeking to support engineering students so that they can fully engage with the community and learning environment around them. This paper will share results, reflections from students, lessons learned organizers from multiple pilot studies, and activities from ERASe and the DEIAB committee. Assessment is in the form of student surveys and student/faculty focus groups.

  1. Cody Petitt Ohio University
  2. Dr. Greg Kremer Ohio University [biography]
  3. Ryan Pytosh University of Florida
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