This fall, the University is expected to launch a comprehensive “wellness” website that centralizes information on mental health, spiritual well-being and clinical care.
The proposed launch comes amid student calls for increased transparency on a range of University-related mental health policies. The new website, developed by the office of Kimberly Goff-Crews, the University secretary and vice president for student life, will reach beyond just clinical options to include other aspects of wellness at Yale, including spiritual and physical well-being, Goff-Crews said. Her office initially intended to do a soft launch of the website this spring. But, after feedback from students suggested it could be better to delay the website and seek more input from students about what information it should contain, the official launch was delayed to next fall, Goff-Crews said.
These efforts will help remedy some of the most fundamental issues with mental health on campus, said Eli Feldman ’16, president of the campus organization Mind Matters and a member of the Coalition for Mental Health and Wellbeing. He added that clear platforms of information are key to ensuring that students are well-informed.
“A website [that consolidates resources] is hugely important,” Feldman said. “I don’t actually think a lot of the issues that are really at the center of mental health at Yale were even brought up during [this semester’s] increased discussion — how we can be better friends to others, teaching students how to reach out for help.”
Director of University Events Heather Calabrese, who works under Goff-Crews, said Goff-Crews’s office will host two open forums next Tuesday for any interested students to preview the website and offer suggestions. New features and functionality will be added as students begin to use the platform, she said.
“We are trying to move as quickly as possible,” Goff-Crews said.
Joel Bervell ’17 attended a visiting lunch with Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway last Friday. According to Bervell, Holloway told Trumbull College students attending the luncheon that one of the reforms to Mental Health and Counseling services would be a centralized database, ostensibly referring to the wellness website.
Bervell said he believed the website could increase the ease with which students can navigate MH&C services available at Yale. Such a development could actually increase the number of students able to take advantage of MH&C’s services, Bervell added.
“If there is a more streamlined manner for students to get their information, many more students will be able to get the help they need,” Bervell said.
This help may not even need to come through MH&C, Feldman said. A more comprehensive website could guide students to the plentiful other resources on campus, such as Walden Peer Counseling, which Feldman called “hugely underutilized.”
The key, Feldman said, is getting the message out there in the first place.
“[Goff-Crews’s website] will definitely be useful if they can make it widespread,” he said. “It sounds like they are going to make it very intuitive. I think those are the keys, because if they don’t, it just becomes another list somewhere that people don’t actually look at.”