Our community has experienced profound tragedies with the recent deaths of Adam Oakes and Cody Woodson. It is hard for all of us to mentally and emotionally process these losses.
Tragedies produce an array of emotions, already heightened by the anticipated stress and anxiety of the semester drawing to a close. Although these feelings are normal reactions to extraordinary circumstances, they can be difficult to manage and can at times challenge our sense of emotional and physical safety. Though this might not be your experience, it is likely there are others around you needing support.
I encourage you to reach out to the dedicated people ready to provide that support, including family, friends, advisors, faculty members, staff, members of our religious communities and others. Utilize available resources including University Counseling Services (804-828-6200) and through our Dean of Students Office (804-828-8940; 804-828-0525). Physical activities available through Recreational Sports are also often helpful in boosting mental health. Practice good self-care through nutritious meals, study breaks, getting enough sleep, and avoiding alcohol and other drugs.
Your sense of safety is also important. As VCU has shared, law enforcement has increased its presence on and near campus. It is also important to engage in practices that aid in your personal sense of safety, including awareness of your surroundings, traveling with others, downloading the LiveSafe app if you have not already done so, and meeting and getting to know your neighbors.
I encourage each of us to be mindful of ways we can encourage and support one another during this difficult time. Take the opportunity to let someone know you care about them. If someone is struggling, step up to encourage them to seek help.
Charles Klink, Ph.D.
Senior Vice Provost