Student mental health is top of mind for many university leaders today, and it should be. A growing number of college students nationwide are experiencing mental illness, particularly anxiety and depression.
Mental health is physical health, and finding ways to support our students in this area – by adding traditional resources and introducing new tools – will contribute to their success in the classroom and far beyond it.
With student support at the forefront, I recently partnered with AI Media Labs to create the Digital President Whitfield – a high-tech digital avatar of me that’s available to connect with students anytime, anywhere. The AI-based Digital President can answer thousands of questions on more than 500 topics, ranging from mental health and wellness to financial aid, parking, and ways to get involved on campus.
Importantly, we wanted a tool that moves beyond text-based chats to purpose-driven verbal conversations. With the Digital President, we can learn what students need in the moment and answer questions directly or, if needed, quickly refer them to the right resources.
Now more than ever, colleges and universities need to do everything and anything possible to ensure our students are supported on every step of their higher education journey, particularly in areas of student wellness and mental health. I invite you to read more about how we're using the Digital President tool to support all of our students at UNLV whenever they need a hand – and giving them a little extra encouragement along the way.
Keith E. Whitfield, Ph.D.