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The Student News Site of Trinity University

Trinitonian

The Student News Site of Trinity University

Trinitonian

Programs on campus give mental health resources to students

Mental Wellness Initiative funds mental health resources and counseling services
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Skylar Savarin

Through the Mental Wellness Initiative, more programming, resources, student peer health educators, events and organizations will populate Trinity’s campus. Such implementation includes MANUAL, a new anonymous mental wellness resource geared towards men in college; TigerConnect, a messaging platform on campus; PAWS, the incorporation of therapy dogs on campus; MHAW, Mental Health Awareness Week; and LGBTQ+ focus groups, which discuss health disparities and offer resources for students to seek the help they need and more.

MANUAL is a digital platform that provides resources for people who identify as male on campus through livestreams, guides, newsletters and on-demand videos.

According to a 2019 study by the National Institute of Mental Health, men are less receptive to asking for help, and according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, as of 2021, men are 3.9 times more likely to die by suicide than women.

Men on campus now have the opportunity to receive help in a judgment-free way. Zander Guckian, first-year history major, shared his gratitude for Trinity’s push for mental health awareness.

“Having a space for men to share their struggles without fear of judgment is essential to their well-being, and I’m glad that Trinity is taking steps to address it,” Guckian said.

Similar to spaces designated for mental health, TigerConnect is a program in which students will be able to create group chats themed on passions with like-minded students. This allows students to connect with one another and dissipate the feeling of isolation and loneliness on campus.

PAWS is the new organization that will bring therapy dogs on campus to reduce stress. Interested staff and faculty will train their dogs to become certified therapy teams. PAWS has student volunteers who are trained to know the safety and benefits of having therapy dogs on campus.

Marlaina Widmann, coordinator of student wellness, established the Peer Health Education program in spring 2023, which teaches students how to recognize mental health crises.

Caterina Adrover, SGA vice president and business analytics and technology and international economics double-major, expressed the significance of students understanding mental health crises and how to be a resource for students.

“This is for students, by the students. We have peer health educators, students like you and I, who will be having this extra knowledge of how to help in these situations,” Adrover said. “Data has shown students are more likely to seek health with mental health crises with students first, then actual professionals.”

Later this fall, there will be a Mental Health Awareness Week hosted by wellness services and Active Minds, a club supporting student mental health. The details are still in planning, but in the past, students have created their own self-care kits, tried meditation, pet therapy dogs and submitted questions to counselors.

“College is a moment of a lot of changes. You’re away from home, have to make big decisions, figure out your career, etc.,” Adrover said. “Those questions cause anxiety as you have to try to figure everything out.”

Resolving issues around mental health has been no easy feat, but Nguyen assures the student body that SGA wants to implement as many long-term solutions as possible, rather than copious amounts of short-term solutions.

Ella Charbonnet, junior senator and marketing major, spoke up about this issue because of her belief in helping students battle their mental struggles through more resources.

“Since I’ve been here, we’ve lost a student every semester due to mental health,” Charbonnet said. “It passed unanimously during a very personal and emotional meeting. You could tell everyone in the room wanted this, and for President Beasley to come in and support this was honestly a huge compliment to SGA.”

In spring 2023, the National College Health Assessment found that 57.1% of students reported distress in the past year due to academics and 31.8% of students were positive on the Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire. Danny Nguyen, SGA president and marketing and communication double-major, emphasized the goal’s importance.

“We saw a very strong need to make sure students have a community here. We saw the wellness initiative not only as a way to prevent mental health crises but also give students the opportunity to get help when they need help,” Nguyen said. “There are always support services, but we want to incentivize and engage with the student body to have a branching effect to have others come and join this community.”

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About the Contributor
Eve Slemp
Eve Slemp, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Hey! My name is Eve Slemp (she/her) and I'm a freshman news reporter from East Lyme, Connecticut. I plan on majoring in Business and Communications and am super interested in pursuing a career in journalism. I am part of the Trinity Symphony, too many clubs, and love meeting strangers. Happy reading!

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