New opportunities for positive changes have opened up in Suite 270 of the Siek Campus Center, which now houses the Wellness Center, which provides health services and personal and psychological counseling.
“Counseling and mental health counseling is vital. College years [are] the time when many individuals will perhaps experience their first psychological crisis like depression or anxiety,” said Executive Director of Student Development and Wellness Kelly Sweener.
“By looking at mental health and psychological health the same way we look at physical health and wellness, we can marry those two services so that we can function as a holistic wellness center,” Sweener continued.
“Now that we have the centralized location under one umbrella, it will allow us to better serve our students and there will be more efficiency with treatment,” said Sweener.
“Sometimes when students present with physical illnesses, there could be a more behavioral health component … lifestyle choices, diet, sleep, all of the things that may get destructive when you are a college student, especially when it comes to trying to balance work, part-time jobs, family demands, and school,” she said. With this recent change, health and wellness outreach programs are further being developed, including Project Aware, a peer education and community awareness program.
Sweener said, “The program has been coordinated through the recruitment of students through our Human Services department, because there’s a natural tie-in there. The students who are in that program are in the ‘helping field.’ They get a credit for their initial placement course that counts as placement experience.”
“We call them Student Health Ambassadors or Wellness Health Educators, and they are basically students who are helping the counseling center deliver healthy and positive messages to peers and college students,” Sweener said.
Activities such as yoga, tai chi, nutrition workshops, and cooking demonstrations may be held at the Wellness Center. “We are looking to see if we can utilize the space for these programs,” said Sweener. “Studies have shown that some of these Eastern approaches to mind, body, and mediation may help really ground someone and also promote health wellness.”
Sweener continued, “We’re hoping to partner with Cylon George, the campus chaplain, and Jake Silvestri, who oversees our Health and Wellness Institute, to deliver these workshops. We have a lot of ideas, and we hope students are going to take advantage of that.”