The Student Health Advisory Council (SHAC) has expanded focus on physical wellness to include mental wellness, following the absorption of Mental Wellness Educators (MWE).
MWE was previously responsible for advocating and promoting mental wellness on campus. SHAC will now include mental wellness as another aspect in their events and initiatives. They will do this by restructuring some events and providing more information about the mental health aspect of wellness issues.
“We’ve partnered between MWE and SHAC before, but now it’s really to make sure — as we’re considering health and health of the student body — that includes mental health. It’s now how can we incorporate mental health as a part of whole-body health?” said Jenna Jaeger, SHAC and former MWE member.
SHAC will also seek the continuation of some previous events organized by MWE.
“For example, we brought the dogs to campus as MWE. That’s definitely still going to happen … like the therapy dogs during finals,” Jaeger said.
The absorption of MWE was spurred by a lack of members. The lack of members followed a transition from Active Minds, a previous mental wellness advocacy group, after the national organization requested a membership fee — considered excessive by the previous group.
“It kind of fluctuates on their membership … You do see that happen with other peer education groups, where some membership will go up while others will go down,” Jaeger said. “It’s just really where the incoming class sees themselves involved.”
Jaeger also noted that this will help students that are part of the Peer Umbrella Network (PUN) to understand the relationship between physical and mental wellness.
“Everyone who has an interest can be involved, but a good majority of the members are future healthcare providers. So also I think it can be very positive that we are also incorporating mental wellness because then it kind of eliminates the disconnect between mental health and physical health,” Jaeger said.