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The Wellness and Resilience Program workshops will be held at Gutmann College House six times this semester. Credit: Kylie Cooper

Penn’s Positive Psychology Center is offering three 90-minute workshops for undergraduate students to be taught resilience and well-being skills. 

The Dowd/Sanders Wellness and Resilience Program will be offered on both Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons, starting on Jan. 26 at Gutmann College House. The event was planned in collaboration with  Wellness at Penn and College Houses & Academic Services and is open to all students living in College Houses.

In an email sent to the student body on Jan. 20, Chief Wellness Officer Benoit Dubé advertised the program and shared its benefits to students.

“The goal of this program … is to teach life skills that will help you navigate challenges and allow you to thrive in your personal and academic lives,” Dubé wrote. “These new (or now refined) tools will also be helpful in communicating and interacting with your peers — on campus and beyond.”

The workshops will focus on three main topics: resilience & optimism, avoiding thinking traps, and real-time resilience. The program aims to prevent students from falling into the pitfalls that come with college life. 

“All college students are faced with a multitude of challenges - and this is especially true of our undergraduates," Dubé wrote to The Daily Pennsylvanian. "They are studying, attending classes, joining groups and engaging in social activities, some are working, and many are living life for the first time on their own."

The program is being offered following reports of mental health-related challenges at Penn. A 2018 survey reported that half of Penn’s graduate students were struggling with feelings of depression, and a 2021 column by The DP’s editorial board detailed needed reforms to Penn’s Counseling and Psychological Services. Moreover, a 2015 CIS Senior Design Project from Penn Engineering found Penn to have the highest depression ranking of the U.S.’s top 25 universities.

Dubé shared his hopes for the program to help address Penn’s challenges with mental health.

“This program will provide practical strategies to avoid feelings of being overwhelmed, unmotivated, or becoming paralyzed with anxiety,” Dubé wrote. “The skills learned … during this program will help students … continue to thrive now and into their future.”

Students interested in registering for the workshops can do so at this link.