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Enhance programs awareness of student-clinician mental health and wellness

This task force was formed in 2017 to identify best practices for academic programs to support and improve students’ health and well-being throughout their academic career and in preparation for clinical practice.

  1. Determine the incidence and impact of mental health dysfunction in physical therapy students;
  2. Identify factors (personal, environmental, and academic) that influence students’ mental health and wellness during the academic program, including clinical education;
  3. Provide resources (guidelines, continuing education, and programming) and best practices for academic programs to address mental health in their programs
  4. Develop strategies that help academic and clinical educators promote student resilience; 
  5. Create a research agenda addressing the areas of mental health and resilience that includes both academic and clinical education environments. 

After completing a student, faculty and program administration survey, the task force created this student mental health report in October 2020.  

Most common mental health issues include:

  • Academic performance anxiety
  • Financial strain
  • Clinical performance anxiety
  • Generalized anxiety

Recommended actions include:

  • Identify what mental health resources are already available – make them widely known.
  • Set up regular meetings with advisors/mentors (once per semester.)
  • Be pro-active in creating response algorithms/protocols for mental health crises.
  • Compile information on mental health-related resources to provide to clinical sites.
  • Advocate for expanding access to online counseling/ support programs – especially for students at distant clinical sites. 
  • Consider providing financial literacy training.  APTA's Financial Solutions Center has a toolkit for educators to promote the resource to their students.
  • See these top five (5) recommendations for addressing student debt from the PT Student Debt Task Force.

Members of the task force are:

  • Cheryl Resnik, Chair
  • Jeanette Anderson
  • Heather Beaudoin
  • Jennifer Bogardus
  • Miriam Gross
  • Anne Mejia-Downs
  • Jennifer Root
  • Janet Stevenson

Check out the Center for Excellence in Academic Physical Therapy


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