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Enhancing Our Sense of Well-being in the Time of COVID-19

Dear Northwestern Students,

There is so much change and uncertainty in our world right now, and I know this is not the Spring Quarter any of us had imagined. I am amazed by how our community has rallied in the face of these challenges, and how quickly you have adapted to our new learning environment. Yet I know that these changes can be stressful, so now more than ever, it is important for us to focus on our health and well-being.

Many groups and departments at Northwestern have been hard at work to ensure that critical wellness resources remain available to you. I am proud of the faculty, staff and students at Northwestern who have, through collaboration and innovative thinking, transformed our collective wellness resources into a virtual environment. Even though we may be physically distant, our Northwestern community is here for you as we all work toward developing, maintaining and enhancing our sense of well-being.

Understanding Wellness

In order to focus on wellness, we need to understand what it means. Health Promotion and Wellness has compiled information about the eight dimensions of wellness at Wellness at Northwestern. This site serves as a hub for students to learn about wellness and navigate resources. It also connects students to videos and information, and includes a specific section about COVID-19.

Mental Health and Wellness

Northwestern continues to make the mental health and well-being of our community a priority. Through our Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) team, we have created and now provide online services, including online group gatherings, tele-mental health, outreach programming and online mental health screening. Please visit the CAPS Evanston or CAPS Chicago sites, particularly the specific overview on how to take care of your mental health during this time, and check back often as services will be added. 

  • WellTrack: A new service for Northwestern students, WellTrack is an interactive, self-educational, online program to help you address a range of issues including anxiety and stress, depression and mindfulness. You can download the app to your mobile device. Use your Northwestern email address when signing up, and login using your NetID and password.  
  • Breathe App: Northwestern continues to offer and expand upon the Breathe app. Since its inception, the app has had more than 20,000 views, providing students and others with stress management techniques, including guided meditations and breathing practices to manage stress. A module is available for graduate and professional students. 
  • CARE: The Center for Awareness, Response and Education (CARE) provides a confidential space for students impacted by sexual violence, relationship violence or stalking, including friends or partners of survivors. At this time, all CARE appointments will be held remotely. CARE staff remain available to provide support with remote appointments

Physical Wellness

Northwestern recognizes the integral role physical wellness plays, especially during this time, and encourages you to use these services

  • Health Service: Health Service maintains its commitment to help you with your physical health needs. This dedicated team of professionals provides tele-health, e-visit and in-person assessments for students during Spring Quarter. Visit Health Service Chicago or Evanston for more information on accessing services and specific information about COVID-19.
  • Student Patient Advocates: Northwestern employs two full-time patient advocates at the Health Service to assist students with navigating their insurance and help students work with health providers on billing issues. 
  • NU Recreation Online: NU Recreation has created a collection of resources on their Wildcats Wellness page to help encourage a healthy lifestyle as we all do our part by staying at home. 

Financial Wellness

Northwestern has many resources to help you in making healthy decisions about your finances. To the extent that you need assistance, financial aid is available to meet the fundamental costs of attendance. 

In anticipating student needs as the global concerns regarding COVID-19 intensified, Northwestern established a short-term streamlined process for students to request financial support for travel and technological and equipment needs as we de-densified campus and prepared for a period of online instruction. As we are settling into Spring Quarter, we are transitioning from the COVID-19 Funding Request form to existing programs and funds that support students during their times of need.

In addition to this initial aid, assistance is being provided to meet new financial needs caused by the pandemic. As always, if you encounter unique expenses while away from campus, please know that the existing emergency aid process through Undergraduate Financial Aid remains in place. Graduate students can find support in your respective schools. 

Student Engagement and Social Wellness

Through our “Physically Distant; Socially Connected” initiatives, Northwestern has provided you access to a number of virtual engagement opportunities. A virtual student organization fair, online events, mindfulness programming and a number of different engagement opportunities are designed for you. A weekly communication with events for undergraduate and graduate students will be sent every Wednesday, and social media accounts are sharing opportunities for new ways you can stay connected to your Wildcat family. 

Career Wellness

Northwestern Career Advancement (NCA) has moved to a fully virtual environment during this time. Via the Handshake platform, virtual career counseling and virtual employment and internship interviews, NCA continues to support and assist you as you pursue your career goals. Please visit NCA for more information on virtual services and connections. 

During this time of uncertainty and heightened stress, I ask that you make yourself a priority. Take care of yourself, ask for help when needed and reach out to any of these offices with questions, ideas or concerns. Do not hesitate to contact me directly as well with any questions, feedback or ideas at I look forward to working with you as we help keep each other safe and well, and I cannot wait to see you in person once it is again safe to do so.