Students need a positive way to deal with anxieties that not only surround academics, but also everyday life.

On Monday, December 5, 2022, the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) Department partnered with the Lehigh Valley Therapy Dog volunteers and their canine companions (Charlie, Cooper, Jasmine, and Noelle) to hold its first departmental therapy dog event as a new initiative to reduce stress levels amongst its student body, particularly right before final exams.

ChBE also provided refreshments, snacks, and games which were enjoyed amongst classmates and professors in between the tail wagging and belly scratching!

Students need a positive way to deal with anxieties that not only surround academics, but also everyday life. “Within engineering, many students assume that they must prioritize their academics over maintaining their mental health and wellness. Through offering activities such as this, engineering departments can help to change this narrative and show students that they can, and should, prioritize their mental health” says Dr. Sarah Wilson, Assistant Professor in the Chemical and Materials Engineering Department at the University of Kentucky. Her research in engineering education is focused on understanding and helping students overcome internal barriers to success within engineering; designed around three core focus areas: 1) promoting help-seeking in engineering students experiencing mental health distress, 2) understanding and supporting students experiencing imposter phenomenon and 3) identify and developing interventions to overcome communication barriers.

In a recent research study, therapy dogs have been shown to reduce anxiety levels in university students. With such positivity surrounding the event, ChBE plans to make this a regular occurrence for its students and personnel alike to take part.

Lehigh Peer Health Advisors offer various programs for maintaining student health on campus. If students are looking for more direct academic preparation to relieve stress, the Center for Academic Success provides programs, tutoring and study skill information sessions.

24/7 remote mental health and well-being support is available to undergraduate and graduate students through the Student Support Program (SSP). Students can access self-directed digital content, engage in text chat support, and utilize ongoing one-on-one counseling with experienced and licensed clinical professionals. The program is confidential, accessible worldwide and offered at no cost to Lehigh students. The full range of counseling services continues to be available through University Counseling and Psychological Services (UCPS). This includes emergency and crisis services accessed through the main UCPS phone number, 610-758-3880.