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Community Mental Health: Putting Feedback and Recommendations Into Action

DEPARTMENT(S): 
February 24, 2022

WPI’s Mental Health & Well-Being Task Force, convened in late September, will begin to phase out its work in the coming weeks. The Task Force is preparing its final reports, which next week will provide additional input and recommendations from BIPOC, ALANA, and LGBTQIP+ and other underrepresented groups—along with findings and recommendations focused on faculty and staff. The Task Force’s initial report focused on students and was released in January.

As the Task Force phases out, the Mental Health Implementation Team will launch its work to realize these and other critical recommendations from internal and external sources. 

The Task Force members, including co-chairs Jean King, Peterson Family Dean of Arts & Sciences, and Matt Barry, assistant director of Student Development & Counseling, have volunteered their time, talents, and passion over the past six months to help the university gather and analyze feedback from the community and to help shape the ways we can support the WPI community going forward.

King and Senior Vice President of Student Affairs Philip Clay, who will help lead the Implementation Team, have been working together and with students, faculty, and staff to prepare for a smooth transition.

Clay will be joined by Director of Emergency Management Ron Bashista in leading the newly formed Mental Health Implementation Team (MHIT). This team will be charged with ensuring progress on recommendations from internal and external sources around mental health and well-being on our campus. Notably, these are the same leaders who worked hand-in-hand with partners across campus to manage the university’s COVID response over the past two years and will do the same with MHIT partners.

In preparation for this phase, MHIT leadership has been reviewing recommendations from the MHWB Task Force and the Riverside Trauma Center, which provided its independent review of WPI’s mental health practices; Riverside’s recommendations are well aligned with those of the Task Force.

MHIT has also been considering inputs from community members and groups including WPI Strong Parents and student leaders representing WPI Advocates.

The input and recommendations have been synthesized and combined to establish the priorities for the initial work of the MHIT. Initially, they will focus on these five priority areas:

  1. Student Life
  2. Academics
  3. Programs, Training, and Services (including the Center for Well-Being)
  4. First Year Experience
  5. Communications

Sub-teams are currently being created and aligned with the above priority areas. MHIT will begin meeting next week, and team members and regular updates will be shared across the web and other platforms, including in-person meetings.