September is National Suicide Prevention month, sparking suicide prevention awareness across the nation. St. Olaf offers numerous resources for anyone who is experiencing a difficult situation or who has friends who are struggling with mental health. Free services on campus include:
Located on St. Olaf Avenue, the St. Olaf Counseling Center provides free and confidential counseling services to all St. Olaf students. In addition to providing counseling resources, Boe House also keeps track of student mental health at St. Olaf. Last year, 20 percent of all St. Olaf students visited the counseling center, the highest percentage ever recorded. Of those students, a record 16 percent reported suicidal thoughts. 30 percent reported having had suicidal thoughts in the present or past. At a time when suicidal thoughts in students is at a record high, the need for resources such as Boe House is paramount in the St. Olaf community.
Appointments with professional counselors can be made by emailing email@example.com, or by calling (507) 786-3062. Students can also attend informal consultations through Let’s Talk. Let’s Talk is an appointment-free, confidential consultation service designed for students who are unsure if they want to talk to a counselor, students who are concerned about a friend, students who have a specific problem they would like to talk through and more. Sessions are held from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday in Rolvaag Memorial Library Room 306.
St. Olaf Wellness Center:
The Wellness Center at St. Olaf focuses on providing resources and information and promoting awareness and education for students on campus. The center is run by a group of current St. Olaf students whose mission statement is: “We strive to educate and support a community that encourages healthy and safe behaviors through the promotion of personal responsibility, positive social norms, and campus engagement.” All Wellness Center employees are trained in providing mental health first-aid to students.
“We strive to educate and support a community that encourages healthy and safe behaviors through the promotion of personal responsibility, positive social norms, and campus engagement,” – St. Olaf Wellness Center
“All the resources are great, but a conversation with a student is helpful in a different way. Having another student to talk with is helpful in a different way,” Tommy Olson ’19, a student worker at the Wellness Center, said. In terms of mental health, the center focuses on talking with students and informing them of professional resources that are available.
The center is located in Buntrock Commons 112 and is open on Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. They can be contacted at (507) 786-2966 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greater Than Campaign:
The Greater Than Campaign is a Student Government Association (SGA) initiative focused on raising awareness about mental health on campus through events and presentations for students at St. Olaf.
“We don’t offer any direct resources, but we are a conduit from the students to the resources,” Maria Lind ’19, chair of the initiative, said. “We want students to know more about the resources that we do have, like Boe House and the pastors and SARN.”
The initiative is divided into two subcommittees, one focused on the community and the other on resources.
The Community Subcommittee works to put on events and start a conversation about mental health on campus. Community Director Olivia Prescott ’20 believes that the subcommittee is about “Promoting good mental health and acknowledging that everyone has mental health – it’s not just about if you have a mental illness – and promoting getting the help when you need it.”
The Resources Subcommittee, headed by Megan DuBois ’19, alerts both the students and the faculty of resources on campus. They give presentations in the faculty department to inform professors of mental health situations so that they are better equipped to help students in the classrooms. The Resources Subcommittee also strives to ensure that students are aware of resources available to them.
“Our main end goal would be to end the stigma around mental health and mental illness on campus and increase the conversation about it,” DuBois said.