The School of Social Work made a recent announcement concerning the progress of the University’s CONNECTWELLMU initiative, an online platform that provides all members of the University with access to a variety of mental and physical health resources available on and off campus.
The announcement was made via mass email to the entire student body on Sept. 30, the last day of Suicide Prevention Month, underscoring the University’s continued work in suicide awareness.
Michelle Scott, Ph.D, M.S.W, began her message with a short declaration of solidarity for the University’s universal suicide prevention effort. “We at Monmouth do not see suicide prevention as something that is a priority just in one month of the year, but rather every day of every month throughout the year,” she began. “As always, Monmouth Hawks Fly Together!”
Scott is not only a Professor in the School of Social Work, but she is also the Director of CONNECTWELLMU Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention Program, the grant supporting this new available resource for the Monmouth community.
According to the CONNECTWELLMU webpage, the site is a “one-stop-shop for all things wellness” and “A dynamic portal that will be updated with additional resources as the need arises.”
In an attempt to increase awareness about this resource, Scott explained how more information would be distributed on campus. “In the next week or two, students, faculty, staff, and administration will receive a CONNECTWELLMU resource pen and resource folder to help support [them] in [their] efforts to help those in need,” explained Scott. “The resource pen and folder include information on both on and off- campus support services as well as information on identifying behaviors of concern.”
CONNECTWELLMU works in conjunction with other departments on campus, such as the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, which hosted an event on National Suicide Prevention Day earlier in September.
Chris McKittrick, Psy.D., LPC, one of the coordinators for the event, said, “What began as a one-time event during the semester is now a year-long initiative to get students the help they need.” At the time, McKittrick had mentioned CONNECTWELLMU’s inception as a product of the University’s effort to support anyone and everyone struggling with mental health. Now that the initiative has come to fruition, that desire now reflects reality.
Travis Fineberg, junior anthropology major, said he looks forward to the online platform. “It’s always nice for resources to be available in addition to those that Monmouth provides in-person.”
In addition to the health-related resources on the CONNECTWELLMU website, there are other areas of wellness covered, such as campus safety and the MU Police Department, getting involved, and nutrition guidance.
Scott emphasized, “It is so important to take care of yourself as you take care of others…It has been one long 18 months, but now that we are back on campus together, while we may not be physically close as we continue to fight this pandemic, we can always stay connected!”