Dear Rice Community,
As we begin the fall semester, I’m writing to welcome you back on campus and to share a heartfelt message of care and concern about the well-being of our faculty, staff and students.
While university life promises adventure, growth and new connections, the rigor of academia can sometimes become intimidating and even overwhelming. That’s why fostering our mental, physical and emotional well-being is paramount for our sustained success.
The prevailing evidence concerning mental health amid the pandemic has not gone unnoticed. Regrettably, many continue to grapple with these challenges. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, millions of people in the U.S. are affected by mental illness each year. One in three adults ages 18–25 experienced a mental illness during the pandemic. Distressingly, the majority of college students (more than 60%) meet the criteria for at least one mental health problem — a nearly 50% increase since 2013, according to the Healthy Minds survey published earlier this year.
Amid these disheartening statistics, acceptance and understanding of mental health issues among our friends and peers is essential. We must recognize that suffering is a shared human experience and that the best thing we can do is learn from it, move through it and emerge more resilient.
University campuses are nurturing grounds for students, faculty and staff alike to overcome obstacles and achieve more than they think is possible. At Rice, we take care of each other. We collaborate and help each other thrive both personally and professionally. These values are part of our culture of care.
For those who need a listening ear, remember you are never alone and that the following resources are always available to all students. Staff and faculty seeking support are encouraged to contact Rice’s Employee Assistance Program at 713-500-3327.
Rice Wellbeing and Counseling Center
Students can call 713-348-3311 any time, day or night.
In-person visits at the Rice Wellness Center at the Gibbs Recreation Center are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday–Friday. Walk-Ins are welcome.
In closing, I want to ask you to please, be kind to yourselves. Take time to exercise, eat well and get plenty of rest. Consider taking one of the mindful classes or workshops offered at the Rice Gibbs Recreation and Wellness Center. And, do not hesitate to reach out if you need help. That is what we are here for.
I look forward to seeing you on campus and wish everyone a productive and enjoyable semester.
President Reginald DesRoches