Supporting Your Mental Health and Wellness as a College Student: 5 Tips from SMCC Wellness Coordinator, Jacqueline LaPlante

Tuesday, February 6, 2024
Supporting Your Mental Health and Wellness as a College Student:

As the classes pick up in speed, students must navigate the challenges of academic life, student involvement, and continuously strive for success, all while balancing their own personal well-being.

According to a recent survey conducted by Student Voice in 2023, an alarming 56 percent of students overall have experienced chronic stress during their college years.

Jacqueline LaPlante, South Mountain Community College (SMCC) Wellness Coordinator, adjunct professor, and social worker is on campus kick-starting intentional initiatives to support the mental health and well-being of students, faculty, and staff on campus.

“Navigating the transition from high school to college entails a profound shift in responsibility,” shared LaPlante. “Students face unfamiliar processes and lifestyles when they begin their college career and as well as heightened demands they are not used to, often without clear guidance or models for success.”

Jacqueline’s initiatives include online mindfulness programs, in person support and an overall general awareness of how students, staff and faculty are impacted by stress, anxiety and other mental health issues.

For students and staff still looking for ways to focus in their overall mindfulness and mental health during college, Jacqueline shares five essential tips aimed at tackling stress during college:

Supporting Your Mental Health and Wellness

  1. Embrace Campus Community: LaPlante highlights the importance of fostering connections within the campus community. Whether through clubs, study groups, or engagement with instructors, students can find vital support networks. "Connecting with teachers is crucial," LaPlante emphasizes. "They're here for you and building those relationships can greatly enhance your academic journey while easing the stress you may face in the process. You’re not doing it alone."
  2. Prioritize Personal Well-being: LaPlante encourages students to prioritize their personal well-being by cultivating self-awareness. "Start with awareness," she advises. "Take stock of your habits, mood, and activities. Identify areas for improvement, whether it's sleep, nutrition, or social interactions, and make small daily commitments to enhance your overall well-being."
  3. Cultivate a Positive Mindset: Mindset plays a crucial role in mental health. LaPlante emphasizes the importance of shifting from negative to positive thinking. "Understand your mindset," she says. "Combat negative thoughts with gratitude and positivity. Train your mind to focus on the good, fostering resilience in the face of challenges."
  4. Utilize Campus Resources: SMCC offers a wealth of resources to support students' mental health. From counseling services to disability resources, advising, and student life, these services can be crucial for students navigating college life. "Don't hesitate to utilize the resources available on campus," LaPlante encourages. "They're here to help you succeed."
  5. Practice Self-care Rituals: Finally, LaPlante advocates self-care rituals into students' daily routines. "Engage in activities that nurture your well-being," she suggests. "Whether it's journaling, spending time in nature, or practicing mindfulness, prioritize self-care to recharge and rejuvenate."

Jacqueline started new programs to support students, staff and faculty manage stress and wellness. Her role has been crucial in bringing awareness and normalizing conversations about mental health.

This Spring 2024, the campus will kick-off a Wellness and Mindfulness Expo on March 30 and weekly 20-minute Reset: Mind, Mood and Energy sessions to support the campus community.