Feb. 16, 2024

Wellness Classroom Visits reach over 20,000 students

In-class presentations provide students with mental health strategies
Students watching presenter in front of wellness presentation in classroom
In-person wellness classroom visit

Though winter is beautiful, it’s easy to feel tired and glum from the dark mornings and early sunsets. What makes the start of the new year worse is the pressure on students to get right back into the groove of studying. Taking care of their mental health is often the last of their concerns.  

The Wellness Classroom Visits initiative, however, intends to bring wellness tips and academic strategies directly to the students on campus, so they do not have to seek them on their own time. This initiative, presented by Student Wellness Services and the Campus Mental Health Strategy with support from other campus offices has been widely successful in past semesters. These visits will continue in Winter 2024.  

In 2021, Dr. Melissa Boyce, PhD, a professor within the psychology department of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Calgary, pursued her desire to help students across campus with their mental health. Along with the Campus Mental Health Strategy, Boyce interviewed 14 undergraduate students as part of a strengths and needs assessment. 

Four objectives were identified for what students needed most to improve their well-being. As a result, the Wellness Classroom Visits initiative was launched (in fall 2021) as a collaboration between the Student Wellness Services’ Health Promotion and Outreach Team, and additional campus partners such as the Student Success Centre and the UCalgary Recovery Community.  

Wellness Classroom Visits are five-minute presentations conducted in classrooms on various topics dedicated to improving the study habits and well-being of students. Since they are conducted by peer helpers and allow for peer helpers to provide their own personal examples of how they struggle with mental health, the presentations also aim to foster a sense of relatability and kinship between students. After the presentation, instructors are sent additional resources to share with their students. 

The initiative has continued to receive positive feedback from students. Here are a few examples of student comments from the fall 2023 feedback survey:  

“Just the presence of the presentation itself was a good reminder to look after myself.” 

“[What stuck with me from the presentation was] realizing that I neglect parts of my life to focus on academics. I need to create my own self care plan.” 

“The most impactful part would be that there are resources for almost all kinds of help in this university, which is really beneficial for students who think they are suffering alone. I was really overwhelmed in the beginning, but through seeing the presentations, I realized that I wasn't alone.” 

On average, there are seven to eight different topics offered each semester, from which instructors who request a Wellness Classroom Visit for their class can choose. This semester, new topics have been added on social connection, test anxiety, and two presentations from the UCalgary Recovery Community.

Topics this semester 

Wellness presentations

  • Preventing Burnout 
  • Reducing Anxiety 
  • Creating a Self-Care Plan 
  • Practising Self-Compassion 
  • Mindfulness for Stress Management 
  • Strategies for Prioritizing Wellness  
  • Meeting New People and Building Social Connections  

Academic presentations 

  • Strategies for Reducing Test Anxiety  
  • High Impact Study Strategies: Self-Testing 

UCalgary Recovery Community presentations  

  • Making Positive Behavioural Changes  
  • Addiction and Recovery Supports on Campus  

Since the launch of the project in 2021, over 340 visits have been facilitated, with just over 20,000 students reached. With Wellness Classroom Visits continuing to take place this semester, Student Wellness Services aims to reach even more students and offer them the wellness tips, academic strategies, and resources they need to be successful in their university careers.  

If you are an instructor interested in requesting a Wellness Classroom Visit for this semester, please see the Wellness Classroom Visits site where the link to the request form is available. 

Wellness Classroom Visits are brought to you by SU Quality Money.

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