ILLINOIS: “Wellness Chair Program” To Be Implemented in 50 Student Groups Next Fall

August 12, 2016

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News
Speaker:  Illinois

The Daily Northwestern

Starting next fall, individuals trained in suicide prevention, active listening, and mental health awareness will be placed in 50 student organizations at Northwestern University. These “wellness chairs” will lead mental health programming, such as meditation, relaxation techniques, and stress reduction, and provide emotional support to group members. The wellness chair program, which began as a class project and grew into an initiative led by student Isabel Schwartz, aims to provide tools and resources to help students cope with their high-pressure academic environment. Numerous collaborators have contributed to the design of the program, including a student-run oversight committee, members of student government, and the university’s Counseling and Psychological Services, which will provide training to wellness chairs. “It’s really about bringing the conversation about mental health and wellness into the functioning of the student group,” Schwartz said. “Student groups impact students’ mental health significantly and there needs to be a greater level of awareness on their part of how their functioning impacts students’ wellness.”

Spark Extra! Read about suicide prevention at colleges and universities.