University of Illinois System

Student Mental Health


Preparing students to flourish in the world that awaits them requires a commitment to every aspect of their development.

Today, addressing their mental health is more critical than ever as they juggle their studies with the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic downturn and a renewed nationwide push for social justice.

To help students achieve their dreams, we launched an ongoing series of system-wide events focused on promoting their mental and emotional wellbeing. I hope you will join us and add your insights and expertise to this important conversation, which will build on our long legacy of world-class service to both students and the public good.


Student Mental Health Symposia 

The University of Illinois System hosts an annual symposium devoted to issues around student mental health. Initially planned as a day-long, interactive event, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the 2020 and 2021 symposia being held virtually. It was decided that 2022's symposium would also be offered via the virtual format. So far, nearly 1,300 faculty, staff, and students from the three universities and system offices participated in the three events. The event is hosted by President Killeen and the three chancellors and is keynoted by nationally recognized leaders in the student mental health arena. The symposia recognize the importance of student mental health, provide a forum to explore fresh ideas, strengthen system-wide relationships, and generate innovative strategies to address the growing need for effective and available mental health services to promote student success. The events, to date, are just the start of an ongoing effort to address student mental health while emphasizing the role all members of the campus community can play in supporting a caring and nurturing environment that allows students to thrive and reach their full potential. 


The third Student Mental Health Symposium was held on September 28, 2022. Dr. Stacey Pearson-Wharton served as the keynote speaker. Dr. Stacey Pearson-Wharton is Dean of Health & Wellness and Director of the Counseling Center at Susquehanna University and has served the Governing Board of the American College Personnel Association as the Director of Equity and Inclusion where she used her expertise and experience to navigate complicated social justice issues. She has significant experience teaching, publishing, and presenting on issues related to college student development. She holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Pennsylvania State University and a Masters in Counselor Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Pearson-Wharton's keynote was based on the latest research on collegiate mental health that highlights the increase in students' pathology and the proliferation of mental illness in all aspects of University Life. The complexities of mental illness can cause a professional not trained in mental health to be reluctant to engage students. This keynote provided information and answered questions about the latest trends in collegiate mental health, best practices and trends in campus public health measures, the role the entire University Community plays in understanding and engaging mental illness successfully including the appropriate roles to assume in different mental health incidents, including explorer, bridge builder, lightkeeper, and captain, build a unified mental health network intra-campus and inter-state, and exploring inclusive excellence principles and their role in addressing student needs.

University Specific Symposium Events



The second Student Mental health Symposium was held on September 15, 2021. the keynote speaker was Dr. Kelly Crace, Associate Vice President for Health & Wellness and Director of the Center for Mindfulness and Authentic Excellence at the College of William & Mary. Dr. Crace has published and presented in the areas of values, flourishing, resilience, life role development and transition, and organizational development. His keynote, "Flourishing through Chronic Too-Muchness," is available below. Over 500 faculty, staff, and students from the three universities and system offices participated.











Dr. Crace PowerPoint Presentation



The inaugural Student Mental Health Symposium was held on September 16, 2020. The keynote was delivered by Dr. Gary Glass, Director of Counseling and Career Services at Oxford College of Emory University, a nationally renowned proponent of addressing student mental health issues from a community perspective. Dr. Glass' presentation is available below. Over 400 faculty, staff, and students from the three universities and system offices participated.

The Student Mental Health Symposium Committee

The Student Mental Health Symposium Committee will continue its charge to provide information and supportive resources to the broad universities' communities.  It embraces the understanding that active participation by faculty, staff, and students in a community of caring is beneficial to all campus members.

Student Community Mindset Committees

Both Dr. Glass and Dr. Crace waived their honorariums, asking instead that the funds be used in support of student well-being initiatives. The Office of the Executive Vice President/Vice President Academic Affairs has supplemented these funds to offer program sponsorship of $5,000 to each university student mental health subgroup to implement a student focused well-being initiative. Each of the 4 sub-groups (UIUC, UIS, UIC and UICCOM) has been charged to develop an initiative that will promote mental health and wellness. See Community Mindset Program for more information.


Student Mental Health Resources


Faculty/Staff Resources