Showcase Sessions

Augmentative Mental Health Services for Former Foster Youth: A Collaborative Effort Between SDSU C&PS and Guardian Scholars

Koko Nishi - San Diego State University
Michael Juan - San Diego State University
Simone Hidds-Narcisse - San Diego State University
Bryan Spencer - San Diego State University

Topic: Wellness and Prevention

An estimated 1-11% of former foster youth graduate from college. Compared to 24% of non-foster youth who reach graduation, it is evident that a discrepancy exists and must be addressed. While it is convenient to attribute this statistic to the experiences unique to former foster youth, one important factor in improving the rate is the commitment student affairs professionals make towards student success. Recently, San Diego State University Guardian Scholars (GS) Program partnered with Counseling and Psychological Services (C&PS) to provide augmented support to their students. The collaboration represents an innovative solution to a long-standing problem “how do we connect these students to mental health resources, with minimal intrusion, understanding that rapport may be an obstacle? It provides critical psychosocial support to GS students, staff, and programming with the goal to retain and graduate students by addressing their social-emotional and mental health needs. Presenters will describe the background, design, implementation, and effectiveness of this collaboration to provide services addressing the mental health needs of former foster youth. Presenters will facilitate a discussion regarding the obstacles, solutions, and lessons learned in implementing collaborative programming across departments. Attendees will learn how they may develop similar programming at their respective institutions.

Learning Objective(s):

  • Participants will explore strategies to engage former foster youth students in mental health topics aimed at increasing wellness and attaining educational goals.
  • Attendees will learn about effective approaches for supporting staff in such collaborative efforts.
  • Participants will increase their understanding of possible obstacles and lessons learned in implementing collaborative programming between a former foster youth academic support program and a university counseling center.
  • Attendees will participate in a discussion regarding implications of implementing similar collaborative programming in their own academic settings.

Touchstones - Holding on to what Matters

Michelle Bigard
- Central Michigan University

Topic: Wellness and Prevention

Touchstones Holding on to what Matters Touchstones originally were developed by ABWB (A Window between Worlds), an organization who uses art as a touchstone for change for those impacted by violence and trauma. The creation of touchstones has been adapted and used as a creative intervention by the Counseling Center in a variety of contexts: in partnership with the CMU Museum of Cultural and Natural History as a response to a campus tragedy to help people ground and connect to another; as an outreach activity in a student sponsored Mess to De Stress event; by group facilitators to anchor students experience and insight and in other outreach activities. Participants who stop by this Showcase table will have the opportunity to create their own touchstone and explore how they may use touchstones on their campus.

Learning Objective(s):

  • Participants will engage in a creative activity that stimulates reflection and self-expression by creating a touchstone.
  • Participants will identify ways touchstones can be use in their campus outreach efforts.

Mend the Gap: Confronting Stigma Through Conversation

Merrill Reiter
- Oklahoma State University

Topic: Wellness and Prevention

Mend the Gap is a multi-part series prompting peer-led conversations about mental health, help-seeking, and other stigmatized topics. Mend the Gap was created as an outreach program to reduce feelings of personal and public shame through interactive activities and peer-to-peer discussions. This program aims to create an open and safe space for students to participate and/or listen to others discuss their mental health concerns, share coping strategies, and ask questions. While peer facilitators are present to help guide the conversation, participants are ultimately leading the discussion based on what is being shared in and with the group. Because this is peer-facilitated and peer-led program, it can be tailored to fit the needs of institutions of all sizes, and students with a variety of backgrounds and identities. Mend the Gap creates an environment where the potential to encourage students to recognize the benefit of seeking help, realize they are not alone in their struggles, and feel less ashamed of their negative mental health experiences through conversations being led by peers and shared among peers.

Learning Objective(s):

  • Feel prepared to implement Mend the Gap at their college or university
  • Describe the benefits and importance of peer-facilitated mental health programming
  • Recognize how Mend the Gap provides opportunities for students with a variety of backgrounds and identities to access mental health resources

Culturally Responsive Outreach and Prevention Strategies: Diversity and Inclusion for Asian American and Asian International Students

Lillian Chen - University of Washington, Bothell
Matthew R. Mock - John F. Kennedy University

Topic: Wellness and Prevention

Cultural responsiveness and cultural humility are imperatives in counseling outreach with students of increasingly diverse cultural backgrounds.  Outreach efforts must be respectful yet creative, innovative and engaging. This includes initiatives with Asian Americans and Asian international (AA&AI) students. Success on college campuses extends beyond academics to social, emotional, psychological, physical and family-relationship well-being. On the west coast, there has been increased acknowledgement of specific needs for outreach among AA&AI as well as more culturally-diverse university students through targeted strategies.

This dynamic, engaging Showcase features successful cultural outreach for providing effective non-stigmatizing workshops such as managing stress; navigating relationships; understanding acculturation; and appreciating intersectional aspects of multiple social identities. Recommendations from nationally recognized mental health experts will be provided. Actively demonstrating the uniqueness of wellness outreach and prevention activities, a multi-media, multi-strategic approach will be utilized. In addition to resource information shared by presenters, inspirational videotaped stories from student advocates may be shared. While focusing on AA&AI student outreach this creative exhibition will invigorate attendees to share their inspiring ideas for campus outreach inclusive of all students. Significant grassroots efforts across cultural and AA&AI groups to understand best factors for outreach will also be creatively drawn for sharing among Showcase attendees.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to describe emerging ideas for culturally sensitive outreach and promoting well-being among cultural communities, in this example, specifically for Asian American and Asian International (AA&AI) students;
  • Participants will share knowledge of effective current practices and converge on future directions related to outreach, prevention, service delivery and clinical intervention on college and university campuses for AA&AIs;
  • Identify contributing factors to suicide-risk among AA&AIs and discuss potential barriers to access services while at the same time identify successful outreach, wellness, recovery and prevention strategies;
  • Attendees will increase their understanding of ways to forge collaborations, share community resources, and expand supportive networks from a core cultural perspective for students of diverse cultural backgrounds and intersectional identities.

The Association For University and College Counseling Center Outreach
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