Wake Forest gets creative to help students de-stress

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Getting into college is stressful, and for freshmen, once they get there, the stress usually doesn't stop. That's why Wake Forest University decided to create an Office of Wellbeing, which focuses on the health of the hearts, minds and spirits of those on campus.

"Largely many students are still thinking about wellbeing as something that's purely physical and so it's a really nice opportunity for us to help them explore that it's multi-dimensional," said Dr. Malika Isler, head of the Office of Wellbeing.

Wake Forest is part of a national trend in universities taking a closer look at mental health. Isler helped develop a multi-dimensional approach called THRIVE, which includes various ways to keep students emotionally healthy.

"We try to make sure that the deposits are made so they can manage the stressful events when they come but then also try to provide those outlets so that when they're  stressed they have a place to sit, renew, rejuvenate and connect with others in a meaningful way," Isler said.

Junior Amanda Kim came to Wake with a unique form of narcolepsy. She said the focus on all-around health has been a huge help.

Now Kim is leading a student group for those with invisible disabilities such as narcolepsy. Isler says getting students invested in their own mental health is part of the strategy to make sure students don't fall through the cracks.

"We don't have a prescription for it, we welcome people wherever we are on their journey. Our goal is to provide the tools and resources for them to make the decisions that fit best with their lives," Isler said.