Faculty and staff at the University of Montana are learning about a new ‘Well Being Tool Kit’ to help create a culture of well being in the classroom than can positively affect students.

Health Promotion Specialist Julee Stearns said students are struggling more with mental health issues than ever before rather than on drugs or alcohol, so new tools were necessary to help them cope.

“The Wellness Tool Kit is focused mainly on helping faculty set up a classroom environment that can help them better support students throughout their academic process,” said Stearns. “What we’re finding out is that the classroom environment can either be helpful or hurtful to student well being and so we want to create an environment that is more supportive and help students succeed academically.”

Stearns said the research was initially conducted on the campus of Simon Fraser University in Canada.

“One thing that we’re hearing a lot from students is that they want just a little bit of flexibility,” she said. “For instance, if you have the ability to drop a low score throughout the semester, or are able to choose what your big topic area might be for a project that they’re working on, a little flexibility can help students overcome difficulties when they come up.”

Stearns said the life of a student is becoming more complex and stressful.

“All students have to deal with real life issues along with being a student, and sometimes that can be overwhelming, so a little flexibility can help them persist through a difficult time.”

Find out more about the toolkit here.

The toolkit is presented in part by the Campus Wellness Coalition.