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SUNY Geneseo Mental Health Town Hall March 11, 2019 4-530p

Mental Health begins when you’re feeling fine and dandy. Mental Health is always a part of our collective life and individual identity. Self care when you’re “not feeling badly” is an important part of Mental Health. Support seeking at this stage is very natural and encouraged. Actively seeking and supporting mental health at all stages of life is part of how we normalize help seeking and make mental health part of our daily lives.

Laura Swanson opened the event with a review of the stages of meeting emotional needs

Using “I Statements” both when discussing your own experiences and when discussing collective issues is a way to minimize defensive communication, respect the individuality and uniqueness of mental health issues, and open dialogue that lead to sustainable change.

Learn more about today’s panelist below! We are so grateful to have so many voices coming out today in support of mental health support on the Geneseo campus

INTRODUCING OUR PANEL

Julia Deacon (s/t), Class of 2020, Psychology/Dance Major & Asst. Residence Director

Joe Cope (h/h), Interim Assoc. Provost for Student Success

Dominique Brown (s/h), Class of 2019, Psychology Major and Pathways Peer Advocate

Taylor Gale (s/h), Asst. Director of Student Life for Housing Operations

Terence Rogers (h/h), Class of 2019, Business Major & Men’s Basketball Captain

Gabe Iturbides (h/h) Asst. Director of the Access Opportunity Program

It was great to see representatives of the SUNY Geneseo administration at this year’s Mental Health Town Hall Forum and to hear that there’s on-going efforts to improve and distribute resources and support for students.

HOW DO YOU SUPPORT MENTAL HEALTH ON CAMPUS

  1. Participate in Peer Pathways: a peer to peer support service for students ranging from isolated class frustrations to thoughts of self-harm or suicide
  2. Coordinating among students, faculty, staff, and support services to have conversations about how to best support mental health on campus and what resources need to be provided/supplemented
  3. Connecting students to resources on campus and other systems or structures that can help them during times of mental health challenges
  4. Working on various committees and organizations to provide counseling for athletes, residents, and other students in various roles on campus in both group and individual settings
  5. Showing students that they have options available and making those options as available as possible
  6. Simply providing a little guidance on academics or life events; listening when people need to be heard or need validation that what they are going through is “okay.”

Validating others and their experiences as “okay” is one of the many little ways that we can de-stigmatize help seeking and normalize all mental health experiences as normal and natural

One of the things that we learned from our panelists is that the degree to which we are comfortable seeking mental health support is culturally bound. Often, mental health issues sneak up on us because we haven’t been taught to look for it. When those issues are finally uncovered, it’s important for us to hear that what we are experiencing are normal, that it’s okay to ask for help, and for us to pay it forward to others who might benefit from support.

We heard several mentions of panic attacks from our panelists, both because they have struggled with panic attacks themselves and because panic attacks and generalized anxiety are common among student mental health challenges. The point of a panic attack is not to avoid, stop, or prevent them because a panic attack is a signal that you need some attention. Instead, it’s about recognizing that panic attacks are normal, learning the signs, and cultivating effective coping mechanisms that you can use to manage your panic attacks and to support more generalized efforts to promote mental health.

These strategies might not “stop” a panic attack but they are still valuable for promoting more general mental wellness, which, yes, can help panic attacks!
Beth Cholette, Clinical Director for South Village Counseling Services, addressed concerns about hiring new counselors, stating that resources are limited but, yes, there are plans to hire new counselors in addition to more widely circulating the current resources including group sessions.

HOW DO WE PRACTICE SELF CARE? We discussed self-care often during the panel until someone finally asked, “what exactly is self care?” The panelists discussed their own unique forms of self care, from painting and journaling to doing math problems...anything to clear their mind or bring focus back to themselves. There’s no right or best form of self care as long as it works for you. Just remember that self care doesn’t have to be fancy or cost money. Sometimes self care is just doing the basics: joyful movement such as dancing or taking a walk, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep.

REACH OUT or REFER OUT

  1. Counseling Services, (585) 245-5716, health.geneseo.edu
  2. Pathways Peer Advocates (585) 237-8860 (8a-8p while classes are in session), geneseo.edu/pathways
  3. Dean of Students, Dr. Leonard Sancilio, (585) 245-5706, geneseo.edu/dean_students
  4. Urgent/Emergency Needs (for life threatening energies, always call 9-1-1 or University Police at (585) 245-5222)
  5. For 24/7 urgent mental health support, call 2-1-1
  6. Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK
  7. Crisis Text Line: Text “START” to 741-741
  8. Visit go.geneseo.edu/healthemergency for more

JOYFUL MOVEMENT AND PHYSICAL FITNESS was one of the recommendations for supporting student mental health and wellness. We learned that the temporarily closed Suffolk Gym should be re-opened. You can also participate in a variety of group fitness classes for free through the Workout Center even if you are not a member of the workout center. See a full schedule of classes from Spin to Pilates to Yoga to Zumba at https://www.geneseo.edu/workout_center/hours-classes

Created By
Lee Pierce
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Created with images by stevendepolo - "I'm Brave Kent County Girls on the Run April 06, 20104"

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