Every year, alarming statistics are released regarding the number of doctors and student doctors who face burnout, deal with depression, and even take their own lives. In an effort to wipe out the mental health stigma and encourage wellness—mentally, physically, and emotionally—the Student Government Association (SGA) of RVUCOM and the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents have launched the Student Wellness Committee.
Kicking off the initiative, the SGA held a wellness presentation, open to all students, faculty and staff, which offered the idea that expressing gratitude can increase your own happiness. The presenters handed out paper and pens to all attendees, asking them to write down who inspires
them and why. Then, students were encouraged to call that person or to mail the handwritten note to them. “It was our hope that, with the holidays around the corner, many would bring these letters home and give them to the people who have inspired them,” said Elle Schultz, OMS-II, SGA Honor Code President. Joseph LaPorta, OMS-II, SGA President, said later that he received a lot of positive feedback about the activity, such as “It was a good pick-me-up during a tough time of year.”
The Student Wellness Committee, which currently has fifteen students and five faculty members, aims to establish long-term resources for mental health, while encouraging overall wellness. While no events have been announced yet,
students can look forward to a Mental Health Awareness Week in early spring.