University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: Daylong mental health summit gets underway Nov. 15

Members of the Carolina community will come together Monday for the UNC-Chapel Hill Mental Health Summit. The virtual, all-day event will bring together faculty, staff and student leaders to address three important and related topics specific to mental health at Carolina: campus culture, crisis services and prevention.

Planned in response to the ongoing mental health crisis, both nationally and on campus, the summit is part of an ongoing effort at the University to understand and address mental health issues and well-being.

Monday’s summit builds on work begun in response to the April 2019 Report of the Mental Health Task Force, which assessed the mental health care needs of Carolina students. The report was presented by a multidisciplinary group of faculty experts, students and professional staff in health, policy and student affairs convened in March 2018. Since then, more than two-thirds of the nearly 60 recommendations made by the task force have either been implemented or are ongoing. They range from the overarching — creating a permanent committee on mental health — to the specific: supporting transportation to and from off-campus treatment, which the University provides through its Well Ride program.

On Monday, campus thought leaders will share best practices from their respective fields. Participants will listen to the experiences of students, parents, faculty and staff and have a chance to engage with the presenters. This discussion will help inform next steps.

Registration is open to all students, faculty and staff, who are welcome to join the summit for one session or the entire day. The program will be recorded and made available more broadly with key stakeholders and friends of the Carolina community.

“All of us have seen the mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and statistics show that youth, including 18- to 22-year-olds, face an even greater risk of mental health challenges,” wrote Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Amy Johnson and School of Medicine Psychiatry Department Chair Samantha Meltzer-Brody in an Oct. 28 message announcing the summit. “This national mental health crisis affects all of us, and we cannot solve it with the efforts of one person, or one group, alone. We hope you will join this important conversation and help us foster a culture of compassion and care in our community.”

Events of the day
The summit is structured around three broad topics: campus culture, crisis services and prevention. The following is an overview of the day’s events:

9-9:10 a.m.: Welcome remarks, Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz
9:10-9:25 a.m.: Carolina’s commitment to mental health, Samantha Meltzer-Brody
9:30-10:50 a.m.: Campus Culture, student voices
11 a.m.-noon: Campus Culture, faculty and staff voices
12:10-12:55 p.m.: Midday lecture, Nance Roy, clinical director of the JED Foundation, a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for teens and young adults
1:05-2:05 p.m.: Parent voices
2:05-3:05 p.m.: Crisis services
3:15-4:15 p.m.: Prevention
4:15-4:45 p.m.: Where do we go from here?
4:45-5 p.m.: Closing remarks: Chancellor Guskiewicz

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