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The Carletonian

SHAC webinar informs alumni about mental health at Carleton

This past Monday, May 13, Carleton alumni tuned in to a Carleton Connects webinar to learn about the mental health resources Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) and the Office of Health Promotion (OHP) offer to students. 

Carleton Connects is a monthly webinar run by Alumni Relations that presents on a wide variety of topics relating to campus happenings. The last Carleton Connects webinar of the year was hosted by Marit Lysne, Director of Student Health and Counseling, and Janet Lewis Muth, Director of Health Promotion. 

“Chris Brunelle from Alumni Relations invited Janet and I to present to alumni about the programs and services at Carleton related to mental health and wellness,” said Lysne. “Depending on when alumni graduated, they may have had a much different experience at Carleton than current students do. We hope this presentation will give them a glimpse into a few ways that life is different for students.”

In response to the question of how mental health resources at Carleton have changed over the 19 years that she has been at Carleton, Lysne said: “This is a broad question with a lot of possible answers.” 

She cited several, including: “Greater demand for and utilization of medical and counseling services at Student Health and Counseling, creation of the Office of Health Promotion, less stigma regarding mental health and students’ increased comfort with sharing their struggles with others, such as their peers, and enhanced services and staffing in many offices in the division of Student Life to provide support in many different ways to Carleton students.”

In order to inform alumni about how Carleton addresses mental health issues on campus, Lysne and Lewis Muth provided “a general overview” of SHAC and the OHP’s  public health approach. Broadly, SHAC offers individual and group counseling, skills-based workshops, and emergency after-hours phone consultation with counselors. The Office of Health Promotion also offers several workshops for students, faculty, and staff concerning mental health training. 

Overall, the goal of this month’s webinar was not to teach alumni about mental health in general, but rather what Carleton does to address issues “regarding stress, sleep, and mental health challenges,” Lysne clarified. “As the director of Student Health and Counseling, I know that the college is aware of the mental health needs on campus, cares about meeting that need, and has provided resources to SHAC in terms of budget and staffing to allow services to expand over the 19 years I have worked here.” 

“The general goal is to offer an opportunity to the roughly 27,000 living alumni whom we have to stay in contact with life on campus,” said Christopher Brunelle, Associate Director of Alumni Relations. Although the program is mostly geared toward alumni, anyone can access archived webinars on the Carleton Connects Lecture Program page on Carleton’s website. Planning for next year’s webinar topics, headed by Brunelle, is already underway.

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