Wellness Initiatives Nourish Students' Mental Health
#MindfulFandM: Franklin & Marshall College initiatives provide education and resources to support the mental and emotional well-being of today's students.
Franklin & Marshall College offers a comprehensive array of experiences that help students discover and expand their ambitions and develop their whole person—including their wellness and mental health.
Explore just a few of F&M's several wellness initiatives that teach students how to be proactive in their self-care and learn lifelong skills related to healthy living, stress management and more.
The DipCares program ensures students are aware of resources on campus, and that faculty and staff know how to assist those students when they need help with emotional or mental health issues.
Last academic year, in addition to assisting students and fielding referrals from faculty and staff, DipCares conducted panels for first-year students of color and students who are the first in their family to attend college; provided mental health education and training to student-athletes and coaches; disseminated weekly "DipCareKits" outlining student care tips for academic advisers; hosted webinars on grief and loss and mental health 101 for all faculty and staff; and collaborated with the offices of student wellness education and violence prevention, counseling services and Greek life to provide suicide prevention programming throughout the year.
"We've tried to normalize struggle, stress, and anxiety and all the things that come with college life," said Care Coordinator Susan Knoll. "The biggest thing is that students feel there's nothing wrong with them. If they're going through a really hard time, we want them to know they're not alone."
F&M Wellness Podcast
Last fall, the offices of Student Wellness Education & Violence Prevention (WE-VP) and DipCares collaborated on a new project: the F&M Wellness Podcast. Hosted by Knoll and Kathryn Wanner, director of student wellness education and violence prevention, the monthly podcast invites members of the campus community to discuss wellness-related topics.
"It was something that any student, or campus member, can listen to anytime—and it just seemed more efficient and accessible," Knoll said.
The first four episodes, now available, addressed these topics:
The first-year transition into college
The mental health impact of the pandemic, including coping with COVID-related anxiety, dealing with transitions and loss, and how to stay connected
Masculinity and wellness
"Our goal is to reach the entire campus community and destigmatize and demysticize mental health issues, via other people's stories and experiences, while broadening everyone's concept of wellness and mental health," Knoll said. "We hope to host a wide range of perspectives and voices."
- Mindfulness at F&M
Mindfulness at F&M is a program that works with students, faculty, and staff to promote well-being, compassion and a renewed sense of awareness across campus.
"We seek to help the F&M community engage in programs and learn skills that aim to promote overall well-being, help them learn what it means to be present-minded, and develop a sense of gratitude in everyday life, along with managing stress and anxiety," said Director for Faith and Meaning Joe Pritchett.
Led by a team of staff, faculty, and students, Mindfulness at F&M offers programming throughout the semester, including weekly meditation sessions; yoga; a mindfulness book club; mindfulness retreats, trips, and walks; and a four-week Mindful U workshop offered twice per semester for students who wish to learn about mindfulness and develop a practice to help them manage stress and be more present in their daily lives.
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