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Ramapo College Wellness Services Spring 2023

To: All Students

From: Melissa Van Der Wall, Dean of Students

Date:  January 25, 2023

Dear Student,

Promoting student well-being is our top priority at Ramapo College. I anticipate that your student experience will be a positive one; however, I recognize that everyone goes through stressful times. According to the Jed Foundation, suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students. In Spring 2022, the American College Health Association (ACHA) found that 75% of U.S. College students are experiencing moderate or more serious psychological distress and 32.5% of college students have considered suicide in the past year. Ramapo students participated in this survey, and our institutional data showed similar rates of distress and suicidal thoughts in our student population. You are not alone if you feel this way. We must also think carefully about how race, ethnicity, disability, gender, sexuality, economic status, and first-generation college status can lead to disproportionate mental health challenges for students, especially those with multiple marginalized identities. One may not have the support and resources at home. College student mental health is a crisis. And, if you are struggling, we are here for you.

Supporting the Well-Being of Students

Mental Health Support: Free, confidential mental health counseling and crisis intervention services are available through Counseling Services.  The contact phone number to schedule an appointment is 201-684-7522.  Counseling Services is located in D-216.

If you or someone you know is in a crisis situation and having thoughts of death, dying, or suicide, emergency appointments are available in Counseling Services by calling 201-684-7522, Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm. In addition, counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for all psychological emergencies, including thoughts of suicide, by calling 201-684-7522 and following the prompts.

In Counseling Services, drop-in consultations are offered Monday through Friday from 1:00pm to 3:00pm (last student seen at 2:40pm). Students are seen on a first-come, first-served basis. The purpose of these brief, drop-in hours are to assist students with concerns such as:

  • You have a specific problem and would like to talk it through with someone.

  • You are not sure if you want to start ongoing therapy.

  • You are looking for another perspective on something you are going through.

Taking Kind and Supportive Action: Faculty and staff have received communication from me to help them recognize the warning signs of when a student is in distress and how to quickly offer support.  Going forward, the communication will be distributed on an annual basis. We believe that a kind, compassionate, and quick approach to helping students will greatly help us address student concerns.  Bystander intervention underscores how we value caring for one another.  Just like you might hold the door open for someone or pick up a pen they have dropped, we want our entire community to hold the door open and help each other move through the doorway toward support and be responsible for helping each other.

*New* Mental Health Initiatives Here to Help You

We are concerned by the sobering statistics around college student mental health conditions and, in addition to the above mentioned resources, want you to know what we are doing about it.

  • Counseling Services has a Multicultural Counselor, who is bilingual and speaks Spanish, a First-Generation Counselor, an LGBTQ+ Counselor, and a Health Promotions Specialist

  • The College added ‘Welcome to Wellness” to all First Year Seminar Courses as another mechanism to expose students to ways to understand themselves and to persevere toward their own betterment

  • The College added a Wellness Initiative representing intervention, support, and resources for all EOF Scholars to attend as part of the summer program

  • Counseling Services carved out a Case Manager role for a Psychological Counselor.  The Case Manager helps students, who might be in need of long-term care solutions, identify local area providers for further mental health treatment

  • Health Services appointments include depression screening and a “soft-hand-off” to a Counseling Services professional should a student need further support

  • For qualifying students registered with the Office of Specialized Services, the Attendance Modification Policy includes permitted class absences in order for a student to participate in mental health or other appointments related to their well-being

Other Crisis Resources:

  • Suicide & Crisis Hotline: Call or text 988 (24/7/365)  to access a trained crisis counselor if you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, a mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. 988 is confidential, free, and available 24/7/365. Confidentiality is limited in instances where a caller is a danger to themselves or others. You can still reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

  •  NJ Hopeline (24/7 Peer Support and Suicide Prevention Hotline); 1-855-654-6735 or text

  • Crisis Text Line – Text HOME to 741741

  • The Trevor Lifeline; call 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678-678 for suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning young people under 25 years old

  • Trans Lifeline’s Peer Support Hotline, 1-877-565-8860

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

  • healingSPACE – 1-201-487-2227; sexual violence crisis intervention hotline (say that you are a Ramapo student.)

  • Veterans in NJ Crisis line: Call 1-800-273-8255, Press 1, Veterans Crisis Line (Text):  838-255

  • Lines for Life Military Helpline for service members, veterans, and their families (24/7/365): call 1-888-457-4838

  • Lines for Life Alcohol and Drug Helpline for anyone who needs information, support or access to resources and treatment for alcohol or drug use (24/7/365): 1-800-923-4357

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


You can contribute to Ramapo’s connected, caring community by participating in Counseling Service’s Ask, Listen, Refer training. The brief, 20-minute online training is designed to give you the important knowledge of recognizing the warning signs of suicide, as well as how to respond and get help for people at risk. I received my Certificate of Completion and hope that you will join me in learning more about how we can support each other.

Counseling Services can facilitate suicide prevention training, known as Campus Connect, for student clubs or organizations.  Campus Connect is a free, 3-hour long training that provides gatekeepers with information and strategies to help prevent suicide, and refer students to campus and community resources. To request training, please contact Dr. Judy Green at for more information. Other Counseling Services workshops can be requested on their website.

If you are a student club or group on campus, there are certified student peer educators who can teach your members vital strategies to promote mental and emotional health. If you would like the Wellness is Now (W.I.N.) group to co-sponsor an event with your organization, please email Megan Johnston, the Health Educator and W.I.N. staff advisor, at or complete the request form on the W.I.N. webpage. You can also learn how to apply to be a W.I.N. peer educator at that link.

Programs and Events

Please follow @rcnjwellness to stay current with mental health and well-being information and programs from Counseling Services and W.I.N. this Spring. Some key awareness months with planned programs to look for will be:

  • Eating Disorders Awareness Week  February 27 to March 5

  • National Nutrition Month (March)

  • Autism Acceptance Month (April)

  • Collaborative programming during Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April)

  • Mental Health Awareness Month (May)

  • On-going BIPOC Walks in collaboration with the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Compliance

Behavioral Intervention Team

If you are concerned about another student and not sure how to assist and the student is not in immediate danger, you can share your concerns with Ramapo College’s Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT). The team coordinates the support services of Ramapo College in order to assist students who have reportedly displayed concerning behaviors.

Additional Ways to Care for Yourself

The following services exist at Ramapo College to help you care for your mental wellbeing:

  • Counseling Services offers a free, anonymous mental health screening to help you identify any areas of distress that could be impacting your ability to function at your best

  • Counseling Services has also compiled a resource list to support mental well-being, healing, and empowerment among Black students and their allies

  • Counseling Services partners with Therapy Assisted Online (TAO), to give students access to a free and completely private online library of interactive educational modules and practice tools. TAO aids in stress management, mindfulness, problem-solving, relationships, and communication as well as provides strategies to develop more helpful thinking patterns. In order to access these free modules, create an account with your Ramapo email here.

  • Counseling Services created TAO self-help modules for depression. Please sign up or log in here to get connected to content to help you cope with your depression.

Additionally, taking care of your physical health through exercise and nutrition has been found to improve mental wellbeing:

  • The Ramapo College fitness center includes the Bradley Center, Recreation Lounge, Adele and Reuben Thomas Swimming Pool, Sharp Fitness Center, and the Auxiliary Gym.

  • Ramapo Dining Services provides a complimentary dietitian, Anne Sugrue, who can help you make informed decisions about your diet on campus.  Anne can be reached at

  • Students struggling with food insecurity may access the Food Pantry located in ASB 130. The full program of services and support available under the Center for Student Involvement’s We Care Program are found here.

Building a support system and becoming involved in the community is another great way to care for your well-being. You can explore many student clubs and organizations to find your community through the Center for Student Involvement.

In closing, I wish you a healthy and positive spring semester.  You belong here, you matter, and you are worth it.  If you ever have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at or by phone, 201-684-7457.