Health sciences students experience mental health issues, demoralization, and burnout at greater rates compared to other students and often do not report these issues for fear of marginalization. Additionally, many neurodiverse students struggle in higher education due to environments that are not accessible. Considering these information points, authors surveyed space in the library to determine an appropriate area to create and pilot the Wellness Room. Funding was established through an internal grant and a study room was approved for use in the pilot. Resources were provided with autonomous space, feminist ethics of care, and trauma informed care tenets.
Feedback from student focus groups guided decisions about supplies that were purchased and furniture selections. A literature review was conducted to explore what other institutions had implemented and to examine strategies that would benefit health sciences and neurodiverse students. It was determined through student feedback gathered from the pilot that the room was not only needed, but appreciated. The library quickly realized students had outgrown the pilot space and expanded the Wellness Room in order to offer additional supplies and space for growth.
The Wellness Room project was so popular, it was also expanded to a self-serve, open area of the library called the Wellness Corner. Students are able to use wellness supplies, coloring books, puzzles, and blankets whenever needed, even when the Wellness Room is in use. Authors looked for inexpensive but impactful items to add to the Wellness Corner and initial feedback has been positive. Due to the student centric and student led nature of these projects, authors continue to monitor feedback and fulfill requests for wellness tools. Additions to the room and corner are under consideration, including a small collection of wellness books. The library’s wellness projects have proven to be cost effective, popular, and a beneficial library service.
Kosovich, Varina and Kristin Proctor. "Empowering Student Wellness: Our Approach at the Health Sciences Library." (2024). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/hsc_ed_day/183