Given the numerous challenges that students face today, fostering resilience has become more crucial than ever. At the Center for Well-Being located at the University of St. Thomas, developing resilience is a central focus so students emerge stronger from their college years.
With the impact of social media and a pandemic, students are more prone to anxiety, isolation, and stress. The Center for Well-Being’s mission is to help students build resilience to combat their challenges, by connecting them to the right resources. The Center for Well-Being offers a variety of programs to help students develop resilience. The center’s departments are: Health Promotion, Resilience and Violence Prevention; Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS); and Health Services.
“I think the power of resilience is that it allows students to really bounce back in a positive way from any kind of negative or traumatic or stressful experiences,” said Luis de Zengotita, executive director at the Center for Well-Being. “Adversity is inevitable in life, and our goal is to cultivate that ability, to adapt and bounce back from difficult situations.”
Health Promotion at the center supports students to improve their health and well-being. There are meditation and mindfulness courses, wellness coaching, and time management and procrastination workshops offered throughout the semester. Students gain resilience as they learn how to stay in the present moment, manage stress and adapt to changing circumstances. Violence Prevention Awareness teaches students how to play an active role in preventing violence on campus. Through these programs, students obtain coping strategies and problem-solving skills beneficial for their time at St. Thomas and beyond.
CAPS provides various services to support students’ mental health. Students in counseling gain a support network, which is crucial in times of need. In individual counseling, students meet one-on-one with counselors to work toward gaining a better understanding of their difficulties and finding solutions. CAPS provides group counseling, where students meet with counselors and other students, creating a sense of belonging and community as students connect over their experiences. CAPS also has crisis drop-in hours for students' immediate needs every weekday afternoon from 2-4 p.m.
“All of the services at Counseling and Psychological Services work toward increasing resilience,” Debra Broderick, director of counseling and psychological services, explained. “Whether it’s individual counseling, group counseling, crisis intervention, or a workshop, the goal is to provide students with the tools, strategies, and belief that they can manage and learn from times of adversity or distress.”
Health Services, the Center for Well-Being primary care clinic, promotes the health and well-being of the St. Thomas community, as well as providing resources for students dealing with mental illness. At Health Services, mental health exams and psychiatric care are available to students.
Through the programming and services they offer students, the Center for Well-Being aims to cultivate resilience through enhancing characteristics essential to building resilience, such as having a growth mindset and a strong sense of self. The Center for Well-Being also hopes to provide students with coping strategies, emotional regulation, problem-solving skills and social support.
To encourage students to visit the Center for Well-Being, the center created the First-Year Excursion to the Center for Well-Being, which introduces first-year students to the resources available to them. Counselors and peer health educators also reach out to students at tabling events where they talk to students about the programs the Center for Well-Being offers.
As an integrated center, the Center for Well-Being works to refer students to programming that can support their resilience development, whether they are at an annual physical at Health Services or a counseling session with Counseling and Psychological Services. The Center for Well-Being wants all students at St. Thomas to thrive.
“No matter what the well-being need is, the Center for Well-Being is here for you,” de Zengotita said. “We really believe that whether it’s physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, financial, the Center for Well-Being can help you think through what your unique well-being need is. There’s no wrong door. We know college students. We know the unique challenges young adults are facing and can help you get to the right resource for you.”
The Center for Well-Being is located on the St. Paul campus.