Strategic Initiative · Integrated Health and Counseling Services

During the Campus Master Plan revision process, Northern explored the idea of merging its existing health and counseling centers into one facility, possibly located with the residence halls. The discussion of a more seamless integration of NMU’s health and wellness programs and services is seen as having great potential for creating improvement in serving students and others on campus regarding their wellbeing. This idea would benefit Northern in providing seamless physical and mental health services in a united space. Supporting members of the campus community – students, in particular – to “be strong in mind and body” is a component of Northern’s vision statement. Northern holds the belief that a strong mind and body leads students to greater academic and personal development success.

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A center that integrates the health and wellness programs and services would allow for a more modernized physical space of the NMU Health Center. It would also allow for the sharing of front-line service staff and would potentially decrease the stigma that is sometimes present in seeking out counseling services. It would enable expanded hours. It also offers the potential for greater collaboration and hands-on learning for students in NMU’s health-related academic programs. Such a center is also envisioned to make health and wellness a focus for students, employees and the U.P. community.

How this will add to NMU’s prestige and distinction:

Even before the pandemic, mental health needs were at an all-time high on college and university campuses across the globe. Those needs increased during the pandemic and are projected to continue into the post-pandemic era. Northern would strive to design the type of integrated program and facility that would better serve current students and be a recruitment factor for prospective students. There is also potential to find new ways to incorporate the U.P.'s great outdoors into the daily health practices of the NMU community through an integrated health center. Additionally, collaboration opportunities exist for this new center with Northern’s Center for Rural Health.

Thinking even bigger:

Northern can explore how to integrate its nationally recognized exercise science, medicinal plant chemistry, and art and design programs into the University’s existing physical and mental health services to create new holistic and therapeutic opportunities that support the strong mind and body vision the University has for its community members