As Florida State University prepares to welcome more than 6,000 freshmen this fall, the university is offering a new online tool to help students adjust to campus, improve mental health, increase resilience and reduce stress.
The “Student Resilience Project” is an online, evidence-informed trauma resilience training tool developed by the Institute for Family Violence Studies at the FSU College of Social Work. The institute began to roll out the tool with a soft launch Aug. 1.
This fall, the institute will fully launch the training, which will be required for all of FSU’s incoming freshmen and transfer students.
“Florida State University recognizes that some incoming students have experienced significant family or community stress,” said Karen Oehme, director of the Institute for Family Violence Studies. “Unmanaged stress responses can interfere with student success in college and cause long-term negative consequences.”
The FSU Student Resilience Project uses highly engaging animation, videos and numerous TED-talk style educational audio sessions from faculty and mental health providers. The training helps students build on their existing strengths and provides them with new strategies that promote health and teach crucial new resilience and coping skills.
Even if a student has never experienced trauma, the project helps prepare students to face future stressful situations and build skills to bounce back from negative experiences associated with change, grief and loss, frustration and stress.
“FSU recognizes the need to provide more tools to respond to the increasing mental health needs of our students,” said Sally McRorie, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. “The project is open and frank about mental health topics our students may face and is intended to destigmatize and encourage seeking help.”
Right now, freshmen can log on to watch short “What I Wish I Knew” videos of current FSU students talking about their first-year struggles and how they overcame them. The videos emphasize that while difficult experiences are common to everyone, students can get through them and there are resources on campus for every type of problem.
“Provost McRorie was the first and foremost supporter of this idea when we first explored it in fall 2017,” said Jim Clark, dean of the College of Social Work. “Her commitment to FSU students has been a major inspiration for this project.”
The website includes evidence-informed interventions, such as mindful meditation audios, music therapy and journaling tips, that help students manage stress and build coping skills.
“The project helps students identify and build on their strengths and encourages personal growth, whether or not students have experienced prior trauma,” said Amy Hecht, vice president for Student Affairs. “This program was carefully designed to be culturally competent, representing the diversity of student voices at FSU.”
The project aims to increase a sense of safety, connection and belonging for students at FSU. It connects students to trauma-informed university and community resources and is designed to supplement existing educational and counseling interventions.
While geared toward students, the site http://strong.fsu.edu is accessible to anyone with an active FSUID, at any time and on any device.
The entire library of resources is set to be released September 2018. To learn more, contact Professor Karen Oehme at firstname.lastname@example.org or (850) 644-1715.