A focus on well-being: NMU celebrates dedication of holistic health center
Journal Staff Writer
MARQUETTE — Northern Michigan University’s new WellBeing Center has officially opened its doors to a holistic idea of health for all students.
NMU Board of Trustees Chairperson Steve Young said, “When the board and the administration studied our well-being needs, we determined that overall well being–that is mental and physical balance–are intertwined and need to be addressed comprehensively.”
Prior to the construction of the new building, students and staff would have to seek medical care from the university health center and emotional care in two separate places. With the melding of the two services, Northern is joining other schools in Michigan by advocating for well-rounded student health.
Greg Toutant is the CEO of Great Lakes Recovery Centers, Inc. in Marquette County.
He said the center reinforces a value system that holds the way we take care of the most vulnerable among us in the highest regard.
“It’s more than just a facility, the creation of an integrated center that addresses the physical, mental, emotional and social health and well-being of its students will go a long way in making students feel engaged here and want to stay here,” Toutant said. “It really makes their time on campus as meaningful and as healthy as possible. It’s heartwarming to see how the university is putting the student population first in their health and well-being needs.”
NMU President Brock Tessman said while the location right next to the university’s dining hall makes the new center accessible to students, it’s the people that make the facility special.
“The people at Northern will ultimately make the biggest difference when it comes to promoting health across campus,” Tessman said.
He referenced the university’s use of the Okanagan Charter, an international charter for health-promoting universities and colleges. “The Okanagan Charter is all about an integrated comprehensive approach to well -being locally and globally, so we don’t just think about mental health, behavioral health and well-being in that sense, we think about well -being with respect to campus culture, diversity, inclusion and belonging. We think about well-being with respect to environmental sustainability in our natural setting. It’s an amibtious project.”
Associated Students of NMU President Gwenn Feamster applauded the university’s effort to put mental health at the forefront.
“Improving our mental health serivces on campus has been on our minds for the last few years and I’m so glad that we’re here today, dedicating a building, showing how the university is actively working on these efforts. Being very brutally honest, being a student is really hard. Being a person is hard and when doing both in conjunction it can be very stressful and difficult for students. We’re in this period of our lives where there’s a lot of stress, transition and self-discovery and it’s important to have confidence in our university’s mental health services and physical health services,” Feamster said.
“I want students to know there’s no shame in not feeling OK. Feelings are always valid and, even when it doesn’t seem like it, students are always loved.”
For more information on the services the new WellBeing Center offers, visit nmu.edu/wellbeing, where there are links to therapy online.
To contact the counseling center call 906-227-2980.
Alexandria Bournonville can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 506. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.