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Mental Health Awareness Month

To: All Students

From: Melissa Van Der Wall, Dean of Students & Megan Johnston, Health Educator

Date: May 4, 2023

Dear Ramapo Students,

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and this is the perfect time to emphasize that your well-being is our top priority.  Mental health and well-being are something to care about throughout the year, but now more than ever, we write to remind you of resources for support. We understand that you might be wrestling with issues impacting your student experience. Solutions are available and we encourage you to take care of yourself.

We know that help-seeking behavior is not easy for everyone. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health, marginalized groups suffer more from poor mental health outcomes due to the cultural stigma associated with mental health services, and the lack of access to these services. Please take advantage of the confidential resources available at Ramapo, in particular culturally competent support is available through Counseling Services, Health Services, Office of Specialized Services, and the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Compliance (EDIC) to safely discuss and address issues related to the intersection of equity, diversity, inclusion, and mental health.  Stigma, access, geography, and high cost or insufficient insurance coverage also contribute to barriers. We hope that the below resources provide you with a path forward.

If you are struggling to function at your best and are interested in free mental health counseling, please call Counseling Services at 201-684-7522.

Drop-in Hours (Mental Health Support):
Counseling Services offers drop-in consultations (students without an appointment) available Monday to Friday from 1pm to 3pm. Students are seen on a first come, first-served basis by dropping into the office, located in D-216. The last appointment is at 2:40 pm. Please note that drop-in consultations are not considered formal mental health treatment and are designed to address a specific concern.

Day Time Emergencies:
If you are experiencing a psychological emergency (such as having thoughts of suicide or you have experienced a trauma) during business hours (Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm), please drop-in to room D-216 or call Counseling Services at 201-684-7522 and ask to be connected with the Emergency Counselor. Alternatively, you may call 911 or your local emergency room.

After Hours Emergencies:
If you are experiencing a psychological emergency during nights (after 4:30pm Monday to Friday) or weekends/holidays, please call 201-684-7522 and follow the prompt (“Press 2”) to be connected to the Emergency Counselor. Alternatively, you may call 911 or your local emergency room.

Recovery Program
The Roadrunner Collegiate Recovery Program, for those in recovery from a substance use disorder(s), provides a supportive community of like-minded students who have chosen to work toward a substance-free lifestyle. It is designed to value and reinforce the personal dignity and worth of each student and to provide educational opportunities alongside recovery support to assure that our students do not have to sacrifice one for the other. Recovery Housing is also available on campus. Please contact Cory Rosenkranz, Coordinator of Substance Use Disorder, Prevention and Recovery Programs at or 201-684-7019 with any questions.

Faith and Spirituality Services
There are a variety of faith and spirituality services for students. Connecting with a group of like-minded students can greatly benefit your sense of spiritual fulfillment and well-being. Prayer rooms are available on campus. H-201 is available for all those in need of a space to practice their faith and spirituality and the Mackin Hall Prayer Room is available for Muslim-identifying students, staff and faculty. If you have any questions, please contact Rachel Sawyer-Walker, Associate Director of EDIC, at

Ways to Get Involved in Well-Being
Many student clubs, organizations and athletics teams are oriented around mental health and well-being. Health, safety, and well-being is important work, and we appreciate the steps clubs, organizations, and teams have taken to support their members. You can get involved in well-being by participating in the volunteer student leadership positions noted below.

  • ENHANCE Peer Mentors: ENHANCE provides social, emotional, and organizational support to help students with Autism Spectrum Disorder adapt and flourish in college. ENHANCE Peer Mentors are trained to assist students in making a positive transition to college life. For more information and an application, please visit the following link, email:, call Suzanne Calgi, Program Coordinator, at 201-684-7155, or stop by Counseling Services, D-216.

  • Recovery Allies Fusion: A major component of the Roadrunner Collegiate Recovery Program (RCRP) are Allies of Recovery. Allies are persons who understand the impact of society’s stigma of substance use disorders and mental health concerns on individuals and relationships. Knowing that others believe in them and their potential to succeed is sometimes all that is necessary for students in recovery to remain focused. Please apply to be an ally here. If you have any questions, please contact Cory Rosenkranz at or 201-684-7019.

  • Wellness Is Now (W.I.N.) Peer Educators:  W.I.N. Peers promote awareness and conduct educational programs on well-being and healthy lifestyle choices to Ramapo College students. W.I.N. Peer Educators approach other Ramapo students with empathy, and utilize a harm reduction framework to support students and promote campus intervention services. If you are a member of a student club, organization, or athletic team on campus, W.I.N. Peer Educators are available to conduct a drop-in outreach event for your members. The outreach events can be tailored to fit a specific topic or group. In order to request an outreach event from W.I.N.,please visit this webpage.

Mental Health Tips for Finals and Summer Break
We encourage you to learn more about mental health and intentionally engage in self-care strategies that promote overall well-being. The tips below center on the 8 dimensions of wellness: emotional, physical, occupational, intellectual, financial, social, environmental, and spiritual.

Schedules: Maintain a schedule as it can help when you feel overwhelmed. Going into finals week, schedule time for study, socializing, and self-care. During the summer, keep a schedule to balance work, life, and play. For continuing students, consistency over the summer break will ease with the transition back to Ramapo’s campus in the Fall.

Sleep: Young adults (aged 18 to 25) need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. A lack of adequate sleep can lead to fatigue, mood changes, difficulty focusing, and an increase in depressive symptoms.  Create a consistent sleep routine and avoid screens an hour before bed. Use your bed primarily for sleep and go to bed at the same time each night.

Nutrition: Eat consistently and do not skip breakfast (especially before an exam). Your ability to concentrate and recall information is worse when you are hungry. Eating breakfast before an exam has been found to improve performance, while not eating has been found to worsen performance. If you experience food insecurity,  please visit the We Care Food Pantry for food located in ASB 130. Please visit this page to learn more about how nutrition impacts your academic functioning and mental health.

Get Active: Move your body, as a lack of movement can cause pain and discomfort. Additionally, regular exercise improves mood through the release of endorphins. You can visit the Bradley Center, enjoy the scenery of the campus, or hike in the Ramapo Valley Reservation. If you use mobility aids, the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) created a playlist with many accessible exercises.

Staying Connected: Stress, anxiety, and depression cause us to isolate ourselves from our community. Social bonds help us to feel better and prevent suicide attempts by decreasing feelings of hopelessness. Try to spend some time de-stressing by meeting up with friends, attending events on campus, and talking about what you’re feeling with those closest to you.   For some, returning home does not bring forth feelings of joy.  Instead, students may feel anxious, not welcome at home, and stress can mount.  Be kind to one another, take notice, and be attentive to the needs of your friends and peers through thoughtful and mindful interactions.

Relaxation and Leisure: Whether you like volunteering, crafting, dancing, playing video games, sports, reading, singing, or watching movies, spending time relaxing is a great stress and anxiety reliever.

Reflection: Regularly find time to reflect on your emotions and beliefs. Reflection can be done internally or through activities like journaling. Make time for practices that enhance your sense of connection to self, nature, and others.

Breathing Through It: Slowing down our breathing supports our emotional health during times of stress and anxiety by bringing our body out of a stress response. Visit this library of breathing exercises to practice self-soothing through our breath.

After Graduation: The change from being a Ramapo College Student to a graduate may bring about uncertainty and anxiety as you are exploring your next steps. If you have any questions or concerns on planning your career after graduation, schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor within the Cahill Career Development Center. You can also use Handshake to browse job postings, career articles, and other resources.

Additional Mental Health Resources:
Call or Text 988 to be connected with the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24/7/365): 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

NJ Hopeline: (24/7/365 Peer Support and Suicide Prevention Hotline); 1-855-654-6735 or text for a response within 24 hours

2nd Floor Support Line for NJ Residents Ages 10-24 years old (24/7/365): Call or text 888-222-2228

NJ Mental Health Cares Helpline (7 Days a week, 8 am to 8 pm): 1-866-202-4357

  • NJ Mental Health Cares Videophone Helpline for Individuals who are deaf and hard of Hearing (Monday-Friday 9 am to 5 pm): 973-870-0677

Crisis Text Line (24/7/365):  Text HOME to 741741

Trevor Lifeline for suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and/or questioning young people under 25 years old (24/7/365): 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678-678

Trans Lifeline’s Peer Support Hotline run by trans people for trans and questioning peers: 1-877-565-8860

Military / Veterans Crisis Line(24/7/365): Call 988 and Press 1, text 838255, or chat online, here.

NJ Vet to Vet Peer Support Line for New Jersey National Guard members, active military personnel, veterans, their families, and caregivers statewide (24/7/365): 1-866-838-7654

Bergen County Addiction Support Hotline Service  (24/7): Call or text 201-589-2976

REACHNJ is a central call-in line for New Jersey residents who are looking for help with a substance use disorder (SUD): Call 1-844-REACHNJ (1-844-732-2465)

NJ IME Addictions Access Center  provides information and referral to substance abuse treatment agencies statewide (24/7/365): 1-844-276-2777

NJ Connect for Recovery, a helpline for family members and friends coping with a loved one’s substance use disorder operating  weekdays 8 am to 10 pm, weekends 5 pm to 10 pm: 855-652-3737 for TTY 877-294-4356

RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline (24/7/365): 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233); TTY (teletypewriter): 1-800-787-3224; or text “START” to 88788

healingSPACE, Bergen County’s Sexual Violence Resource Center (24/7/365):201-487-2227

As you consider May as Mental Health Awareness Month, be aware of those living with mental health issues, contribute to a stigma free campus and society, advocate for policies that support mental health issues, and understand the resources that are available to you should you be in need of support.