Creating a Community of “Cyclones Care” -

Supporting Student Wellbeing Inside and Outside the Classroom

Developed jointly by ISU Student Wellness and the Academic Continuity Working Group

January 2021


To be successful in higher education, students must be “ready” to learn.  Their brain and body must be prepared for and open to learning experiences and this preparedness determines how much and how well they learn.  To be ready and able to learn, students must be in a state of physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual, and social wellbeing.  Supporting student wellbeing in the classroom prepares students for learning, creates a community of connection, belonging, and inclusion, and enhances the academic experience and success for students (ACE, APA, NASPA, 2014 - PDF)


  • Research shows that student health and wellbeing (Excel) is inextricably linked to academic success, retention, and persistence to graduation.
  • Students who are not physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially well are more likely to leave the institution and have poorer academic performance (ACE, APA, NASPA, 2014 - PDF).
  • According to Iowa State University data, the four top impediments to academic performance as reported by students include stress, sleep, depression, and anxiety (NCHA, 2019, p. 5 - PDF).
  • Students who withdraw and do not return to higher education do so primarily from mental and behavioral health related reasons. (NAMI, 2012 - PDF)
  • Utilization of health services continues to increase significantly at ISU despite decreasing enrollment.  This trend is also seen nationally. (Annual Report 2019 - PDFHMS, 2019 - PDF).
  • University presidents’ indicate that mental health and well-being is an increasing priority for their campuses and that it takes a campus community effort to improve well-being. 


General Data Student Mental Health

  • 1:3 students experience significant mental health concerns with depression, anxiety, and relationship concerns as top issues.  
  • 40% of students who need support actually seek mental health services.
  • Students of color are less likely to seek services, experience greater rates of feeling overwhelmed in their first year, and report greater rates of feeling isolated on campus.
  • Graduate and professional students are 6x more likely to experience anxiety or depression compared to the general adult population.
  • National growth in utilization of mental health services on campus is 6x the growth in enrollment over the past 5 years  

Our Collective Role

Supporting student wellbeing takes all of us. Similar to how we all came together under Cyclones Care to protect the health of our community, we must take collective action to support student holistic wellbeing inside and outside the classroom.  We all play an important role in creating a culture of wellbeing, helping connect students to resources, and helping students thrive at ISU. Student Health and Wellness offers various resources, programs, and services that you can connect students too. In addition, Student Health and Wellness can assist you in implementing health and wellness strategies in your classroom and spaces.

How We Create a Community of “Cyclones Care”

Taking a collective, comprehensive, university-wide approach, where we all do our part to support student wellbeing, is crucial to enhance our mission of supporting student success and higher learning.  When we all do these three steps below, we continue to shift the culture and create the community of “Cyclones Care” that supports student learning.  These steps are simple and flexible to fit any course structure and adaptable to fit various methods of implementation (course assignment, share via email, group discussion).  Be creative in how you implement these steps in your spaces! 

Step 1: Share Statement of Focus

During first week of classes, share a statement via email, Canvas, include in your syllabus or have a discussion with your class about the collective focus on wellbeing during this semester. 

Step 2: Choose Strategies

Choose at least one strategy from each of the three categories below to implement throughout the semester.                                               

Awareness – Skills - Resources




  • Start a class with a short 5 minute discussion focused on wellbeing. 
  • Offer accessible self-help resources: Therapy Assistance Online, Biofeedback, Mind Body Spa
  • Watch video and reflect on motivation, time management, & study skills from SCS (YouTube video) and ASC
  • Have students enroll in Sleep Well program (On their own, self-guided 4-week sleep program)
  • Have students take Kognito – Mental Health Training in Canvas (how to help peer in distress)
  • Include a health and wellness presentation, training or program in your class or meeting 
  • Offer bystander education skill development (Green Dot, Campus Connect, RESPOND)
  • Infuse mindfulness & other self-care activities in Canvas or class setting to improve learning


  • Request & include Student Health and Wellness Resource videos for students in Canvas
  • Include Resource Education PowerPoint slides at beginning or end of each course PPT
  • Link Student Health and Wellness in your email signature connecting students to resources
  • Join or connect with one of the Health and Wellness Committees on campus


Step 3: Submit Plan

Fill out 3 minute plan and choose your strategies for Spring 2021 semester! Action Plan Survey (qualtrics form)