GVPD highlights the need for students to prioritize mental health


Chloe Schram, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University Police Department has consistently reported mental health calls, disorderly calls – including arguments between parties – and minor in possession (MIP) cases. 

Sergeant Leah Heaton said Saint Patrick’s Day commonly leads to more activity for GVPD’s officers.  

“We did end up with quite a few minor in possession citations and some juveniles who were also cited for drinking underage,” Heaton said. “We put on a couple extra patrols on Friday and Saturday, which we usually do on our busier weekends like St. Patrick’s Day, so we did have some extra officers around as did Ottawa county off campus.”

Aside from alcohol-related issues, GVPD has seen a continuation of mental health calls for a variety of different reasons. 

“If someone is feeling overwhelmed we have a lot of resources on campus,” Heaton said. “We can be one resource, but there’s also a student services counseling center, housing representatives and more.”

Heaton encourages those struggling to reach out to the GVSU’s Counseling Center. The Counseling Center’s mission is to enhance the well-being of the GVSU community through mental health services including prevention, education and various types of counseling. Students can call their number at (616) 331-3266.

Additionally, the Division of Student Affairs offers various recreation and wellness resources to help students during difficult times. This includes aiding students with emotional, physical, social and intellectual wellness. Similarly, the Recreation and Wellness Center at GVSU has a mission to empower and support students to pursue their overall well-being.

The Lakers Together Mental Health and Well-Being Index also provides over 100 resources and organizations for students to get involved with in regard to wellness and mental health.

GVPD receives an increase in mental health-related and crisis calls each time midterms and finals approach. It’s important that students take proactive steps to care for their mental health in anticipation of these stressful events, as well as for their long-term well-being.

“When finals are coming up, we usually have an uptick in mental health-related calls,” Heaton said. “If somebody is struggling with mental health, they are always free to call us, but we also refer to the other services as well if it’s not an immediate concern.”

Students are encouraged to reach out to these other resources not just when needed, but prior to stressful times in the semester.

“Finals always sneak up on me and it feels like a daunting thing I have to do when I have exams,” said GVSU junior Caroline Carlson. “However, I realize I need to take breaks and reach out to friends during these times.”

Carlson said it can be difficult to find the time or find support systems that prioritize mental health, but she finds different activities that help her manage stressors. 

“Mental health is not always focused on, especially during intense times for different majors, so going on walks always helps me,” Carlson said.

Heaton said that especially with the change of seasons and the end of the semester approaches, GVSU students should continue to prioritize their wellness and take proactive safety measures. 

“With the nicer weather coming out there’s going to be more people outside, maybe people are going to be outside late at night because the sun sets later,” Heaton said. “Just be safe about what you’re doing. If you’re with a group of friends don’t leave anybody behind and have a plan for the night.” 

Heaton said people should be diligent and aware of their surroundings and if they have any safety concerns they shouldn’t hesitate to contact GVPD.