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Wells College in Aurora part of national mental health study

The Citizen - 2/22/2024

Feb. 22—Wells College in Aurora will be taking part in a national collaboration to address student mental health.

In a news release, the Endeavor Foundation said Wells is one of 13 liberal arts colleges from across the country that have joined forces to establish collaborative strategies to enhance student mental health and well-being, which the foundation quoted the U.S. Surgeon General as being the "defining health crisis of our time."

The philanthropic foundation has provided $3 million to the colleges to develop and implement pilot projects, it said. The successful completion of the first phase of the collaboration will enable access to an additional $5.225 million over the next three years, during which the 13 "Endeavor Lab Colleges" will advance their programs.

The collaborative is focused on four main goals:

—Fostering shared learning and active collaboration across all campuses.

—Understanding how the liberal arts context benefits students' mental health and well-being holistically.

—Devising plans and proposals for implementing the most promising multi-campus projects.

—Developing a network of cross-institutional capacity and support.

The strategies may include nontraditional educational experiences such as nature-based learning, credit-bearing wellness classes, expanding clinical and nonclinical mental health interventions like developing communities of care, and exploring personal values to identify meaning early on in college to align with future career paths.

Endeavor, it said, supports liberal arts colleges and programming anchored "in a belief in the capacity of human beings to respond imaginatively and boldly to daunting challenges and affect change."

"The liberal arts have long provided us a way to think about the human condition," Endeavor Vice President and Director of Programs Ashley Kidd said. "We're eager to see how these schools can build on the work on their campuses to help create new systems of thinking about and practicing mental health that are fully integrated into the liberal arts college experience."

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