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.
- Determine the incidence and impact of mental health dysfunction in physical therapy students;
- Identify factors (personal, environmental, and academic) that influence students’ mental health and wellness during the academic program, including clinical education;
- Provide resources (guidelines, continuing education, and programming) and best practices for academic programs to address mental health in their programs
- Develop strategies that help academic and clinical educators promote student resilience;
- 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.
Members of the task force are:
- Cheryl Resnik, Chair
- Jeanette Anderson
- Heather Beaudoin
- Jennifer Bogardus
- Miriam Gross
- Anne Mejia-Downs
- Jennifer Root
- Janet Stevenson