For students who do notknow where to call when they experience mental health issues, the Undergraduate Assembly's new Wellness Guide will help them figure out the right number to dial.
On March 17, the UA published its Wellness Guide, a compilation of 14 mental wellness centers on campus accessible to students. The guide includes introductions to those centers, contact information of main staff members and testimonials from students who have used the centers before.
Included with the 20-page guide is a one-page information sheet that lists the locations and phone numbers of the 14 centers featured in the guide, along with four others.
Social Justice Committee Director and College junior Jane Meyer mentioned that the guide will be mass producedand distributed near the end of April, since that will be the time when most people are gearing for finals and dealing with rising academic pressure.
UA President and College senior Joyce Kim said the aim of the guide is to resolve Penn's decentralized mental well-being resources. "Penn has a lot of resources that can help students with mental wellness, but a lot of students don't know how to utilize them, so we try to pull them together in a guide and present them to students," she said.
The guide also features academicresources such as the Critical Writing Center, the Tutoring Center and Weingarten Learning Resources Center. "Mental wellness is holistic. Academic stress is a big problem, so we decided to include those as well," Kim said.
The process to create the guide, Kim said, started a year ago when she was the Social Justice Committee Director of the UA. The committee decided that they needed to respond to the pressing issue of student mental health, following the string of student suicides that rocked Penn's campus.
"We have to make sure the information is correct and accurate, so that took a lot time. It was also hard to coordinate because we wanted to include so many centers," Kim said.
Meyer added that mental wellness extends beyond just mental health. "At Penn we have CAPS [Counseling and Psychological Services]who are the professionals, but sometimes you just want support from your peers and the community you are in," she said. "So we included those centers that you can talk to fellow students and community leaders."
Student Life Committee Director and College sophomore Daniel Kahana said they tried to understand individual differences when it comes to mental wellness. "We know that there are people from different backgrounds and different communities. Everyone has different needs in mental wellness and we try to build on that," he said.
Kim said the UA is working with the New Student Orientation office to have the one-pager distributed to new students in the fall. The office will also refer to this guide in several NSO programs.
The UA mobile application will also have the guide installed. "We want to go digital, since nowadays most people look at their phones and computers more often," Kim said.
"We want students to know that there are people out there to help them," Kahana said. "It took a lot of time, and the UA underwent so many changes and transitions. I'm glad that we didn't let it slip through our fingers."
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