Florida State implementing mandatory stress reduction training

Florida State University is launching a mandatory program to teach incoming students about “resilience” and “coping skills,” but will allow students to opt out if they have “experienced significant trauma.”

The new Student Resilience Project (SRP) is designed to help “strengthen student emotional and academic coping skills,” according to the “Frequently Asked Questions” on the program website.

The “evidence-informed universal public-health style prevention program,” the website explains, is “intended to destigmatize mental health issues and encourage help-seeking” among students dealing with trauma or stress.

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While it is unclear how the program in funded, the SRP will reportedly cost over $300,000, including a $50,000 budget for “advertising costs,” according to Inside Higher Education.

The program was developed by the Institute for Family Violence Studies (IFVS) at the FSU College of Social Work and features “highly engaging animation, videos, and numerous TED-talk style educational audio sessions from faculty and mental health providers.”

“Florida State University recognizes that some incoming students have experienced significant family or community stress,” Karen Oehme, director of IFVS, stated in a university press release. “Unmanaged stress responses can interfere with student success in college and cause long-term negative consequences.”

The document specifies that the SRP program is also geared towards students with no prior history of trauma, as the program “helps prepare students to face future stressful situations and build skills to bounce back from negative experiences associated with change, grief and loss, frustration and stress.”

While the program has not fully launched, students can watch a portion of the video series, “What I Wish I Knew,” that features students discussing difficulties they experienced during their first year at FSU and address how they dealt with them. Students also have access to mental health resources that address “every type of problem.”

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While the program is mandatory, an FSU spokesman told Campus Reform that “students who have experienced significant trauma, such as the death of family or friends, may opt out if they are already receiving treatment or counseling that may also include stress management skills.”

“The website includes evidence-informed interventions, such as mindful meditation audios, music therapy, and journaling tips, that help students manage stress and build coping skills,” according to the press release, which adds that the program “aims to increase a sense of safety, connection, and belonging for students.”

“The project is open and frank about mental health topics our students may face and is intended to destigmatize and encourage seeking help,” Sally McRorie, provost and executive vice president of Academic Affairs, stated in the press release.

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