Thriving in school requires more than academic success: It takes mental, physical and emotional wellness to succeed inside and outside of the classroom, and California State University, Stanislaus students are benefiting from wellness resources on campus that aim to help each student do their personal best.
“Every student’s experience is unique and it is all about the mind-body connection,” said Jennifer Johnson, coordinator for the PEER Project, an acronym that stands for prevention, education, empowerment and relief, that hosted a Wellness Resource Fair on campus on Wednesday.
The CSU Stanislaus PEER Project aims to eliminate the stigma associated with mental health issues and reduce the risk of student suicide by empowering students to create a supportive network for those who are at risk on campus. It not only serves as an organization that works to increase awareness of these issues but also aims to promote wellness and acceptance so as to create a safe environment where students can find relief.
The PEER Project’s decision to host a Wellness Resource Fair was precipitated by the understanding that the stigma of a mental illness can often cause more damage to an individual than the disease itself. To increase awareness and open lines of communication on mental health and other areas of wellness, students had access to 25 local organizations and were provided information on topics ranging from nutrition to anti-tobacco campaigns to gym memberships at the Fair. In-Shape gym, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Planned Parenthood and LifePath, a program that features early psychosis prevention, were present among others organizations.
“We’ve had a lot of students who know someone that comes to mind when they hear about our organization and our program does receive a lot of referrals after events like this,” said Margo Denison, a clinician and marriage and family therapist intern for LifePath.
The Fair also played host to sold out seminars from lecturers on topics such as happiness, mindfulness and self-compassion, as well as the steps to take to deescalate tense situations such as how to talk to someone who is considering committing suicide. While students browsed the tables in the CSU Stanislaus Event Center they were accompanied by two performance groups that played the drums and ukuleles and also browsed art outside from the Peer Recovery Art Project, a community based organization that features over 250 local artists and serves as a source of expression for many with mental illness.
“I came out to become more informed and I am going to follow up on some of the things I learned today,” said CSU Stanislaus student Shannon Miller.