For Marie Gray, understanding the barriers and health issues graduate students face is a matter close to her heart. As a doctoral student in Prevention Science herself, she is also WSU Pullman’s first graduate student health promotion liaison.
When Gray began the position last fall, she conducted a study to identify immediate and long-term needs related to graduate student mental health, specifically gaps around resource availability, programming, stigma, insurance and diversity.
Since then, she’s been working closely with groups across campus, including WSU Health Promotion and the Graduate School, to help shrink some of those gaps and build more awareness of mental health resources.
While recognizing people have specific needs and individual experiences, Gray shares the following resources generally available to WSU graduate and professional students who might be interested in seeking care:
- Free online counseling through the HealthiestYou App, a 24-hour telehealth service that connects you with a board-certified physician via phone or video chat
- WSU’s Student Care Network offers specific mental health resources for each WSU campus
- An explanation of how graduate student insurance works and a step-by-step guide for finding a provider
- WSU’s Student Care Network also offers a way students, staff and faculty can report concerns about a student’s well-being
- Group counseling and workshops through Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
- Information on mental health and violence prevention can be found in the Graduate School’s Friday Focus weekly e-newsletter
Gray also notes that 98% of respondents she surveyed agreed that stigma, or the perceived need to “power through,” was associated with the graduate school experience.
“Suffering through graduate school is not a requirement to be successful,” she said. “WSU has a lot of resources and everyone I have interacted with through Cougar Health Services, the Graduate School, Health Promotion, and others have reiterated their commitment to helping students through this period in their lives.”
On Oct. 22 from 12 to 2 p.m., she also invites graduate students to a professional development workshop that will cover how to promote mental health within the classroom, resources for graduate students and undergraduates, as well as a space to discuss mental health treatment on campus. More information about the session is available online.
“I know graduate school is tough and challenging,” she said. “I am always available to talk about resources, needs you feel are not being met, or how we can improve the experience for graduate students.”
Now a Mental Health First Aid instructor, Gray also offers group presentations on suicide prevention or resource awareness workshops. Those interested in a presentation or workshop can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.