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Employee Spotlight

A Society of Decent Human Beings

When Aliah Hall was hired as BYU Marriott’s wellness and prevention specialist in 2022, she created a space where students could put down their worries. “This is a place where you don’t have to perform,” Hall says of her office.

Aliah Hall talks with a student
Aliah Hall is BYU Marriott's wellness and prevention specialist

Hall’s presence also represents a significant shift at BYU Marriott, which first brought in a mental health provider in 2020. “It was empathetic leadership for Dean Madrian to acknowledge, ‘We can do this differently, and we’re going to tackle it together,’” Hall notes.

Hall and her two interns provide therapy for 10 percent of BYU Marriott’s student population, with another 10 percent on a waiting list. “The need is huge,” says Hall, who earned her master’s degree in social work from the University of Utah.

It’s common for business students to feel competitive with one another, she continues, and that competition can lead to feelings of loneliness. “The most dangerous part of any mental health issue is isolation,” she says. “When people feel isolated, stress, depression, and anxiety grow rampant.”

In addition to counseling individuals, Hall is guiding faculty and staff to design a better environment for students. Through workshops with BYU Marriott’s departments and programs, Hall shares helpful practices such as mindfulness and stress reduction. She also organizes school-wide events, groups, and awareness weeks, and she is helping create a mental health club for students. Additionally, Hall is an advisor for the school’s Mental Health and Wellness Committee, which is composed of representatives from each department. “We try to understand where the students are struggling and then provide applicable programming,” she explains.

Educating faculty and staff is important because, as Hall says, they’re on the front line. “It’s great for me to be here, but if they can support one another, that’s even better,” she continues. “I talk with faculty and staff about being authentic and being vulnerable. If they’re projecting a perfect persona, that’s the standard students think they have to measure up to, and that’s not realistic or healthy.”

While supporting students may feel daunting for school employees, Hall hopes they abide by an adage pinned on her purse: “I’m a member of the society of decent human beings.”

“Oftentimes faculty and staff say, ‘I don’t know what to do when a student is struggling,’ and I respond, ‘Yes, you do; you’re a decent human being,’” she says. “Most students don’t need a mental health provider. They just need a decent human being who has more experience and will offer support.”


Written by Emily Edmonds

This article was published in BYU Marriott's 2023 Annual Report, page 21.