Mental and physical well-being are an essential part of a positive educational experience, and The University of Olivet is committed to providing a welcoming and safe environment for all Comets. Recently, the College expanded on previous community partnerships with local health care providers to offer a Health and Wellness Center on campus. Students will now have access to a physical space at OC to receive treatment from medical professionals, connect with mental health therapists, attend health-related events and more.
In addition to the physical Health and Wellness Center, the College also welcomed Dr. Erica Pearson, LPC, NCC, director of counseling health and wellness, in August. Dr. Pearson is the first full-time Olivet employee whose primary focus is on mental health and well-being at the College. Her areas of expertise include collegiate counseling, trauma counseling and crisis intervention, mental health and wellness outreach, animal-assisted therapy and more.
“By transitioning from community partnerships to on-campus health and wellness services, students are able to strengthen their sense of community,” Dr. Pearson said. “It’s important for students to know that these resources are extremely accessible to them, creating a feeling of safety and a sense of well-being. My hope is to strengthen the overall idea of wellness on campus. People often wait until they are overwhelmed with their health concerns to speak up or seek care, but students just have to walk to the next building or arrange a virtual visit. This will help students focus more on prevention of health concerns and lead to an overall healthier campus and community.”
This fall, students have already begun to utilize expanded health and wellness options. An online portal with Sparrow Eaton allows students to see providers every day of the week via telehealth. These options are available for students to connect virtually with both physical and mental health professionals.
“Sparrow Eaton medical professionals are really excited to work with college students, just as the Student Engagement Team and myself are,” said Dr. Pearson. “I’m also excited to be in a position where I can have a full-time presence on campus and hear about what students are enthusiastic about in terms of health and wellness. A one-size-fits-all approach is not effective, so interacting with students to hear what they think would be beneficial has been really great, and they have offered some very creative ideas.”
Group counseling and support groups are a few of the options students have engaged in this semester, and future events may include a health fair and educational workshops.
“There have been a lot of people who advocated for this service to be offered on campus, including current and former students and professors,” Dr. Pearson said. “Sharing their voices paired with the Student Engagement Team’s efforts is what made this resource on campus possible. We express our gratitude to those who shared their experiences to promote wellness and continue to enhance wellness offerings.