RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Tuesday night, seven N.C. State University department heads met with dozens of students and staff to hear about the leading challenges facing the physical and mental health of students.
A representative from counseling services said the biggest concern is helping students facing anxiety and depression.
School officials said there have been four student deaths this fall, with two confirmed suicides.
The university will halt classes Thursday and forego all assignment deadlines Friday as a part of a “Wellness Day” initiative.
Before Tuesday’s meeting, CBS 17 spoke with students about mental health on campus and how they intend to use the wellness day.
Senior Ava Besecker said the whole student body can feel the impacts of recent events.
“It impacts the whole community, even if you didn’t know the person,” Besecker said. “You know about what happened.”
Besecker said the wellness day is a necessity for her in a transitional time in her life.
“I just studied abroad and that puts you in vacation mode. Then you come back here and back in the world of competition,” Besecker said. “My mental health has gotten worse and this semester has been my worst semester and it’s been the hardest. I think the wellness day will really help. I plan on going to the gym and playing outside all day.”
She has a message for any students who are struggling.
“You’re loved and you’re seen by everybody here on campus,” Besecker said.
For student Zuhare Ali, who’s pursuing a double major, the day means slowing down to take time with his family.
“The workload can get a bit hectic at times. That’s why it’s good to have wellness days and breaks,” Ali said. “I’ll go back home and visit. My dad’s having surgery on Friday so I get to spend the day with him.”
Student Sydney Cassels commends the more than 4,000 people who have signed an online petition calling for wellness days at N.C. State.
“I think it says that we value that and I think it says that we saw that we needed that in our community and that we needed that space to heal from everything that’s happened on campus,” Cassels said.
Click here to find out more wellness day resources at N.C. State.