Caring for the Whole Student: How Campus Librarians Provide Mental Health Support
Don’t struggle on your own; head to your college library for support!
This January is National Mental Wellness Month, a time to bring mental health struggles to the forefront so they can be addressed and alleviated. This time is especially important for those regularly dealing with excessive stress; university students come to mind. The start of the new semester after a long holiday break is a jarring and often stressful transition for students, and they may need a bit of extra support to get back into the swing of things. Fortunately, that’s where campus libraries can help.
Hosting Mental Health Support Groups
Libraries often serve as a gathering place for like-minded people or those with common interests. For many students struggling with mental health, all they need is a sense of belonging and a community that understands them. To this end, many campus libraries have started hosting mental health support groups that are easily accessible to all students.
Students can attend these groups to learn from others who have experienced similar challenges, give insight to their peers who need it, and form lasting friendships. Simply being able to talk about their issues does wonders both to alleviate their stress and to destigmatize mental health discussions, giving these support groups a vital role in the campus culture.
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Basic Mental Health Training
With mental health awareness gaining more prominence in recent years, many community leaders and those in other community-centric roles have started picking up basic mental health treatment skills to help those they’re already serving. Librarians, of course, account for a large number of people in these roles. While these basic skills aren’t a replacement for an actual therapist or counselor, they’re often just the thing that a stressed-out student needs to regain control of their anxiety.
A few common techniques include meditation, deep breathing, and learning to reframe an issue, each of which is a valuable tool for any student, educator, or community member in general. Arming people with these tools gives them a sense of power and agency regarding their mental health and is often the first step in finding a sense of inner peace.
A Quiet Space to Relax
Even if a student doesn’t suffer from any mental health disorders, everyone gets overwhelmed sometimes. When that happens, they need a peaceful, quiet place to recover, and the campus library is always there to provide. Though they certainly have their more active corners nowadays, there’s always somewhere in the campus library where students can take a moment to recalibrate.
Being able to take these moments regularly positively impacts students’ overall morale and academic performance, so it’s well worth the time to take a trip to the library.
Encouraging Students to Learn about Mental Health
Libraries have always been and always will be institutions of learning. As our understanding of the world changes, so too do the things that people need to learn, which is why more and more libraries now carry books and other resources pertaining to mental health.
By providing students with these books, campus libraries help further destigmatize mental health struggles, encourage students to seek help when needed, and give them the information they need to help those around them do the same. This ultimately contributes to a culture of greater compassion, empathy, and understanding toward mental health and fosters a healthier campus culture as a whole.
Campus libraries play a huge role in the lives of students and school faculty members, from academics to overall well-being, and it’s important that we continue to recognize and encourage that role moving forward. If you’d like to learn more about the importance of libraries in general, feel free to visit us at EveryLibrary today!
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