Augustana fills new student well-being and resiliency position

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) - Augustana has finally filled a student wellbeing and resiliency position that it's been trying to fill for years now. Research shows mentally healthy and resilient students have better grades, a higher graduation rate, and a better all-around college experience. So, students are happy to see this at Augie.

While the academic year hasn't started yet, Farrah Roberts who was selected as the director, already has ideas flowing.

"A lot of the focus will be on the holistic approach of student wellbeing. Anything from healthy relationships to the reduction of alcohol consumption, mental health stigma. Whatever the students needs are, which is what I'll be looking into when they get back on campus" explained Roberts.

She says approximately 85% of students have experienced some sort of trauma by the time they get to college, which is why this role is crucial.

"I'm hoping to bring programming that will help students manage their own stress better and understand their own emotional capacity better and get through these life challenges for the first time" she continued.

Mary-Isabel Sales, an upcoming sophomore at Augustana College is a strong mental health advocate and is glad she can take advantage of this new position. "When I went to counseling here at Augustana, it helped me a ton especially since our services are often free. They help a lot of students who usually wouldn't have resources or have access to this health care" explained Sales.

They believe mental health and physical health are equally as important, "I feel like they're both very explicitly tied and people don't always talk about it that way. People don't realize mental health is a real tangible problem that should be addressed before it gets worse" said Sales.

And they're all looking forward to this school year and what it can bring for the future: "Augustana has had this need, and this generation has had a need for mental illness and mental healthcare for a long time. And I'm interested to see how this will impact our community in a positive way" Sales shared.

Augustana's classes begin in early September, and Roberts already has some program ideas ready for the students and faculty.

Roberts previously worked in the Davenport school district with 30 years of experience in trauma, toxic stress, and mental health.