As Dartmouth continues to process grief and shock following the deaths of several community members, senior leaders today told students, faculty, and staff that they are identifying ways to “come together and provide care and support for one another while we work to strengthen mental health resources, including beginning the second year of our four-year relationship with The Jed Foundation.”
“We can all play a role in creating an environment that enables and supports positive community mental health,” President Philip J. Hanlon ’77, Provost David Kotz ’86, and 14 other leaders wrote in an email to the campus community.
They announced a daylong series of programs, speakers, and activities on the importance of mental health and well-being, set for Oct. 21. The Day of Caring will “create space to process the grief of our community losses, time for reflection, and an opportunity to prioritize our mental health and well-being.”
“To honor what we have heard from Dartmouth Student Government and their counterparts in the graduate schools, and others throughout the community, we will suspend classes for the day and pause other activities through approximately 3 p.m. on Oct. 21 so that students, faculty, and staff across the institution can participate,” they wrote.
Leaders say that the “fraught state of the country and the world causes anxiety and unease about what kind of future we will inhabit. At Dartmouth and nationally, mental health challenges can be exacerbated by social justice struggles, the dangerous consequences of political polarization, health and economic disparities, gun violence and school shootings, the effects of climate change, and, sadly, much more.”
The Oct. 21 event is being planned by a working group from across the institution, led by Laura Hercod, chief of staff in the Office of the President and secretary to the Board of Trustees.
“We encourage you to move through the days and weeks ahead knowing that there is strength in vulnerability. Asking for help can be hard and we want you to feel comfortable doing so. We are working to create a campus where reaching out for help is met with kindness and compassion and support can be found behind any door you open. It is through caring for others that we can also care for ourselves,” they said.