The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of daily life, and has presented challenges for the entire Wayne State University community.
Students are adapting and managing online classes; missing daily interaction with their friends; and figuring out how to separate their work, school and social lives. Many faculty and staff battle “Zoom fatigue” and the stress of balancing work, childcare and the loss of social engagement with colleagues.
Wayne State University has declared Thursday, Feb. 18, as Mental Health Day to encourage the campus community to focus on their health and emotional well-being. That could mean disconnecting from their computers for the day or taking advantage of the many campus resources available to help them cope and thrive.
WSU’s first Mental Health Day was Friday, Oct. 30, following a declaration from President M. Roy Wilson and Interim Provost Laurie M. Clabo.
“The ongoing pandemic has taken a toll on students, faculty, and staff. I want to encourage everyone to use this day to find opportunities to connect with each other, discover available resources to support health and well-being, and take some much needed time off to prioritize self-care," said President M. Roy Wilson.
This semester, a week of mental health-related programming will run from Friday, Feb. 12 through Friday, Feb. 19 to provide flexible opportunities for campus community participation. Warriors are invited to send cheer via e-cards on Feb. 12, participate in Virtual Relaxation Stations to connect with others on shared interests and hobbies, practice mindfulness and meditation, and more. Visit the Mental Health Day website in the days leading up to the event for more information on the offerings. Faculty are being encouraged to give students some leeway on assignments, and, if feasible, cancel classes for the day.
Additionally, Thursday, Feb. 18, will be a paid day off for employees. Employees should connect with their supervisor to discuss how to use this time to focus on mental health. Based on their role within the university, some employees may be unable to use Feb. 18 as a mental health day; if that is the case, supervisors should consider allowing those staff members to use another day the week of Feb. 15 to prioritize their mental health.
“While we may not be physically together, we remain Warrior Strong and united in our support and care for another,” said Dean of Students David Strauss. “I encourage all Warriors to take care of themselves, too.”