October 7, 2019

Minding Your Mind: Supporting Mental Health and Well-Being on Campus

Therapy Dogs at West Chester UniversityThis semester, West Chester University is offering a number of events to encourage students to attend to their mental health and the issues that affect mental wellness including eating disorders, sleep disturbances, social media pressure, sexual assault, stress, personal trauma, depression, test anxiety, break-ups, and more.

For example, “Check Up from the Neck Up” is an annual information and screening fair in September with mental health providers. it provides a host of campus and county/regional resources to support first-years as well as returning students. This year’s event took place Sept. 18.

Below are three more events as well as some of WCU’s mental health resources.


Take a Mental Health Day

Tuesday, Oct. 8

Are you the one? The one in 10 college students who has seriously contemplated suicide? Then consider taking a mental health day.

Jordan Burnham and Tonier “Neen” Cain are the speakers at this year’s Take A Mental Health Day. Burnham Is a survivor of a suicide attempt during his senior year in high school. He speaks from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. in Sykes Student Union Theater (ground floor). Click here to learn more about Burnham. Tonier “Neen” Cain emerged from drug addiction, multiple incarcerations, and two decades of homelessness to help others heal. She talks about the consequences of untreated trauma to individuals as well as to society and discusses interdisciplinary responses. The documentary Healing Neen chronicles her story. 5 – 6 p.m. in Asplundh Concert Hall.

Both events are free to WCU student/staff/faculty with ID. General admission for the public for Cain’s 5 p.m. presentation is $10.

The panel discussion that follows Cain’s presentation features trauma experts Nadine Bean, LCSW, Associate Professor, Graduate Social Work, WCU; Elaine Ziegler, Mental Health Manager, Chester County Prison; Vicki McGinley, Professor, Special Education, WCU; and moderator Charlene Lane, Assistant Professor, Social Work, Messiah College. Continuing education credit pending: LSW, LCSW, LMFT, LPC.


Harriet Stein West Chester UniversityMind Full or Mindful? With Harriet Stein

Saturday, Oct. 12, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Center for Contemplative Studies

700 South Church Street

A registered nurse with more than 30 years’ experience in the healthcare industry, Harriet Stein’s desire to teach mindfulness began after attending her first professional program with Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program, in 2000. She completed advanced teacher training in MBSR at The Myrna Brind Center for Mindfulness at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. She taught mindfulness at Johnson & Johnson for almost a decade and launched her own business to provide companies of all sizes with mindfulness programs.

Free to WCU student/staff/faculty with ID. General admission for the public $20. Faculty $5.

The CCS is a holistic safe space for students and the community to explore health and wellness, as well as friendship and solidarity. The Center’s free programs include daytime yoga and mindfulness practices as well as open times for those who want to meditate on their own time.


Pat Croce West Chester UniversityPat Croce: Living a Contemplative Life in a World of Action

Wednesday, Oct. 16, 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall

Former 76ers owner, entrepreneur, author, and media personality Pat Croce will engage audience members in a lively discussion about retirement, mindfulness, approaches to meditation, and what it takes to truly live a contemplative life. Beginning and ending with a short meditation, Croce’s conversation with Don McCown, Director of WCU’s Center for Contemplative Studies (CCS), will lead directly into a dialogue with the audience. The first 200 WCU students will be admitted free. Tickets $20 for the general public, $5 for WCU faculty and staff, and $2 for WCU students. Register in advance: https://go.wcufoundation.org/events/special-event. Information: 610-436-2868. Ticket sales benefit the WCU CCS.

Additional Resources

For immediate care: WCU’s Counseling Center is located in Lawrence Center: 610-436-2301.

Wellness Promotion (610-436-0732) within Student Health Services provides students and RAs with awareness programming on such topics as alcohol use, time management, and relationship issues. Students can opt for a confidential 45-minute counseling session to analyze nutrition, stress management, sleep, exercise, and other lifestyle choices or can talk with Peer Wellness Ambassadors. They can use the ULifeline service, an anonymous, confidential, online resource center for information on mental health and suicide prevention, by texting “START” to 741-741 Monday through Friday 8-4 p.m. or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

WCU’s Counseling Center schedules all the sessions with therapy dogs and Mr. Muddy (“Mudd”) Puddles, WCU’s embedded therapy dog. The center also hosts individual as well as group therapy sessions. This semester’s groups are navigating relationship groups, women's group, RAM support group (substance use), and grief and loss group.

Anyone who wants to help those who suffer with depression or are in crisis can take one of the on-campus courses in Mental Health First Aid, a free public education program designed to teach everyday citizens the skills to help another person who is struggling. The program provides a comprehensive overview of the most common mental health issues and a step by step action plan. Each participant receives a 138-page manual and certification (good for 3 years) through the national organization.


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