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Carolina Housing Blog

Graduate Students Provide Well-Being Coaching to Student Residents

November 29, 2023

By Sophia Raspanti

This year, The UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work partnered with Carolina Housing to bring well-being coaching to student residents. As part of a pilot program, two graduate students from The School of Social Work have brough well-being coaching to Hinton James, a first-year residence hall found on South Campus. Staff hopes the success of this new initiative will lead to larger scale offerings in the future.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill realized a need for additional mental health resources and support. Administrators at Carolina Housing and the University began formulating a plan to increase access to important resources for undergraduate student residents.

“Coming off the heels of COVID, it was really… obvious to students and to the university, to the chancellor, to faculty, to all of us that normally deal with student support, it was just a higher level of need,” says Kayla Bullett, the senior director of residential education at Carolina Housing.

Well-Being coaches use a holistic, empathetic approach to address student concerns about mental health and other challenges they may face. The initiative is designed to normalize discussions centered on mental health, as well as decrease negative connotations surrounding seeking support. Students may work with the Well-Being coaches through virtual or in-person meetings, in which students will work with the Well-Being coaches to design an action plan to achieve the students’ goals.

The Well-Being coaches, both M.S.W. candidates, trained with more experienced coaches and practiced via recorded sessions with their supervisors. The coaches also received FERPA training regarding student files, as well as mandatory reporting training and a completed background check.

Students interested in scheduling a session with a Well-Being coach are encouraged to reach out to their Resident Advisor. Students will scan a QR code and fill out a brief intake form in which they will identify top areas where they want support. Sessions are 30 minutes to an hour and are guided by the student. The Well-Being coaches assist the student in identifying challenges and creating a goal-oriented action plan to overcome each students’ unique obstacles. Sessions may be one-off or recurring, depending on student interest.

As of mid-November, 20 students had completed the form for coaching next semester. Looking toward the future, Kayla Bullett aims to collect another year of data before analyzing the program’s impact, but hopes to expand amongst residential communities to increase offerings to a wider range of students.

The Well-Being Coaching program was recently profiled in Inside Higher Ed, read the full article here.

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