SF Welcomes Educators Across Florida to Mind Body Life Event

SF Welcomes Educators Across Florida to Mind Body Life Event

An individual on a stage in front of an auditorium populated with people.

May 17, 2024 – Faculty, administrators and staff from across the state gathered at Santa Fe College on May 10 for the Mind Body Life Mental Health Symposium. The day-long event was held in the Lyceum on the Northwest Campus.

The Symposium was the culmination of work funded largely by the Florida Department of Health and Center for Disease Control and Prevention to create a toolkit that provides practical guidance to college administrators concerned about student mental health. More than 220 people contributed to the project.

The toolkit offers strategies for increasing:

  • Mental health awareness and wellness.
  • Access to mental health care.
  • The College’s capacity to support mental wellness.

The initiative was driven by sharp increases among young adults who expressed a need for mental health care but didn’t know how to access it.

In addition to developing or curating a wide-range of programs and services to support mental wellness, such as TimelyCare, privacy rooms for wellness, yoga classes and other physical fitness opportunities, and campus gardens, Santa Fe College worked with Liquid Creative, a marketing agency, to develop the College’s Mind Body Life website, logos, blog posts, posters and social media tools.

An individual on a stage in front of an auditorium.

“Our goal was to provide every attendee with tools to replicate what we were able to do at Santa Fe College,” said Dr. Naima Brown, SF College Vice President for Student Affairs. “One of the most valuable tools are all the files associated with our multi-media awareness campaign. Then we have materials that can be dropped in a learning management system to increase student resilience. There is also a workbook for high school seniors preparing for college and much more.”

Brown told participants that among the college’s goals for the Mind Body Life effort were to remove stigma around seeking mental health care and to normalize mental wellness.

“We also wanted to increase access to mental health resources,” she said. “And remove barriers to care,” including transportation, availability, modality and the need for privacy.

Finally, she said, the college focused supporting mental wellness by increasing awareness among faculty, staff and students about resources, providing training in how to respond, including suicide prevention, and reviewing and revising College policies with a focus on student mental wellness.

During the Symposium, participants heard from Dr. Ernesto Escoto, University of Florida Interim Associate Vice President for Health and Wellbeing and Executive Director for the Counseling and Wellness Center. He spoke about many of the cultural and environmental factors that have played a part in student stress, anxiety and other mental wellness concerns.

Symposium participants also engaged in panel discussions about the College’s approach to college policies with a student mental wellness focus and the mental health first aid trainings at the college.

An individual on a stage in front of an auditorium.

They also heard from Madeline Askins, MS, CHS, Meridian Behavioral Healthcare Inc. and Mental Health Peer Ambassadors about the importance of peer ambassadors. The program closed with remarks by Laura Corbin, Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida Bureau Chief, and Katie Troncoso, Florida Department of Health, Health Disparities Program Manager.

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