Welcome Messages

The Future of Mental Health and Wellness

Sian Leah Beilock

Dartmouth President Sian Leah Beilock

The diminishing mental health of young people is one of the most urgent crises of our time, as U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has rightly pointed out. The Dartmouth community is honored to be joined by him and his six living predecessors to examine what it will take from our institutions, our communities, and ourselves to rapidly improve the well-being of our youth. It is my hope that this discussion will help frame a holistic approach to developing scalable solutions for preparing our students to navigate the challenges, discomfort, and uncertainty that characterize the world they will inherit. We have an opportunity—and a responsibility—to reimagine the university experience with wellness at its center. This means leveraging our integrated health system to pursue and share new research that will deepen our understanding of what’s driving the mental health crisis, fostering a deep sense of community, and providing students with the tools they need to feel healthy and connected, now and throughout their lifetime. There will be no single or one-size-fits-all solution, so I invite our own community, our peer institutions, fellow researchers, clinicians, and students to join us in this ongoing conversation, and in doing the critical work needed to change the way we care for our mental well-being. 

A portrait of Duane A. Compton, professor of biochemistry, who was named the interim dean of the Geisel School of Medicine.

(Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

Duane Compton, Dean, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

I am excited to welcome Dr. Vivek Murthy, U.S. surgeon general, and his esteemed predecessors to Dartmouth for an important discussion on mental health, which has become a major public health crisis in our country. Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine supports mental and behavioral health research efforts at the intersection of medicine and public health and is home to many leading evidence-based research programs that positively affect individuals and communities globally through the dissemination of their findings and tools. Geisel supports the mental health and wellness of our students with comprehensive programs that provide essential resources, guidance, and a nurturing environment, ensuring that they thrive academically and personally. By bringing together the surgeons general and other experts from across Dartmouth, this event highlights our collective dedication to mental health advocacy and underscores our belief in the power of collaboration and knowledge-sharing. Together, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of people grappling with mental health challenges.

Lisa McBride

Lisa McBride, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

I am honored to welcome you to the first conversation on the future of mental health in partnership with Geisel School of Medicine and the C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth. We will be able hear innovative thoughts on the current issues and needs regarding mental health from the perspective of current and former U.S. surgeons general. 

Current research indicates that depression, anxiety, substance use, and burnout are more prevalent in the health care delivery field compared to the general population. To help Dartmouth mental health decision makers and advocates broaden their commitment regarding all aspects of mental health, I contacted Dr. Antonia Novello to invite her and past and present surgeons general to serve as an integral part of the first Koop Legacy Speaker Series.

After the discussions, I encourage you to take the lessons learned, incorporate the ideas presented, and use them as a road map. It is apparent that in the next decade mental health treatment and access will have to evolve and even undergo significant changes as we address this nationwide crisis.