When students face difficulties in their lives, they are most likely to first turn to their friends for help. At Clark, the Student Support Network (SSN) is a six-week training program that provides students with the skills to help their friends when they are struggling. Developed here in Worcester by the Student Development and Counseling Center at WPI and used by many colleges and universities across the nation, this training helps educate and train students to be an effective support system to one another. SSN provides training on:
- Week 1 – What Is Mental Health?
- Week 2 – Core Supportive Skills
- Week 3 – Depression and Anxiety
- Week 4 – Alcohol and Other Drugs
- Week 5 – Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors
- Week 6 – Helping Others Get Help
SSN is an interactive training involving group discussion and role playing which provides hands-on practice to build skills and confidence in addressing difficult situations. The time commitment is one hour a week for six weeks, with meeting times changing each semester to fit student availability. Trainings are conducted by members of the CPG staff who rotate in and out: by the end, students will have met most of the CPG staff. After the training has completed, there is no on-going commitment, however there may be additional advanced SSN-trainings and volunteer opportunities (see Peer Educator internship below).
If you’re interested in our SSN training series, please complete our online SSN Application below. If the next session doesn’t fit your schedule, we can keep your information on record for a future session. Once you have filled out and submitted this application, we will contact you to discuss scheduling and answer any questions that you may have.
Do you struggle with repetitive and self-critical thoughts? Do you have trouble concentrating? Are you looking for a way to manage difficult emotions? Mindfulness meditation is a practice that involves cultivating attention to the present moment in a non-judgmental manner. Over time, this practice creates an internal awareness that allows us to be with ourselves with an open and gentle attitude and helps us with our tendencies to criticize, ruminate, avoid or react. This 6 week (1 hour/week) course includes:
- defining mindfulness and recognizing how “mindful” you are
- completion of mindfulness-related activities
- working with and through difficult emotions
- identifying negative self-talk and utilizing loving kindness
- creating resilience and self-esteem
CPG’s Mindful SSN is designed to teach students how to live their best life through mindfulness, meditation and stress management. To get more information about Mindful SSN, please email Shawn McGuirk.
At Clark, we take mental health seriously. In our efforts to promote awareness about mental health, reduce stigma, and advocate for resources, we place a high value on the student’s perspective. In fall of 2018, CPG decided to find a way to get student input about our services and we created a Student Advisory Board (SAB). The main goal of our SAB is help reach and represent the voice of all Clark students when it comes to the mental health of our diverse student community. The SAB is made up of 20 students from varying grade levels and areas of study. We meet weekly and have various sub-committees who work with advocacy, social media, and connection with the student body.
Our SAB has already made a huge difference. In the spring semester of 2019, the SAB advocated for funding for a much-needed after-hours service called Protocall to help students when they are experiencing moments of distress when the counseling center is not open. They petitioned Student Council and administration for the funding and, as a result of their successful efforts, Clark students will have this service starting in November 2019.
If you want to make a difference when it comes to student mental health, we urge you to join our team. For the fall semester 2019, the SAB meets weekly in the conference room at CPG (114 Woodland Street) on Fridays at 11am. Our first meeting is 8/30/19. If you are interested in joining, please contact CPG Director, Megan Kersting.
The Peer Educator Program at the Center for Counseling and Personal Growth provides peer-led psychoeducational learning experiences for the Clark University student community. Peer Educators are committed to teaching skills that will help students to reduce the potential for distressful life experiences. Students who serve as Peer Educators at CPG help the Clark community by:
- Providing consultation services to various students groups
- Developing and delivering workshops/training sessions covering a variety of mental health topics
- Marketing the services of the counseling center to the campus community
- Assisting CPG staff with outreach programming
- Assessing need of the student body regarding mental health issues
- Helping to manage the social media and other various forms of communication from the counseling center
As part of the Peer Educator Internship, students will meet on a weekly basis and receive credit for the internship experience. In addition to receiving group supervision regarding their programming and outreach projects, students will also engage in a didactic experience that provides education and training to help increase social, self-management, and helping skills.
In order to become a Peer Educator at CPG, a student must have taken the SSN training or have completed the Peer Assistance class in the Psychology Department. If you are interested in becoming a Peer Educator, please email CPG Assistant Director, Marcia Galvinhill.
At Clark University Center for Counseling and Personal Growth (CPG), we strive to connect, educate and intervene with the larger Clark University community and ultimately strengthen our “community of caring”. Providing education and prevention to university students, faculty and staff, through the forms of workshops, presentations, trainings, participation in campus-community events, and dialogues, gives the Clark community the opportunity to learn about mental health issues and it can have a positive impact on students who may not otherwise pursue formal counseling.
Through prevention and outreach, CPG is able to reach numerous students, from those who are interested in learning more about college student mental health and may benefit from gaining information about the variety of services CPG has to offer, to those who may want to know more about how to help a friend, to reaching out to those students who may experience too much stigma to actually feel comfortable seeking therapy. CPG creates a web of support not only for students, but also encourages staff and faculty involvement through a variety of education and prevention efforts.
CPG provides outreach presentations on a number of topics to Clark University staff, faculty and students (e.g. members of a Clark student club or organization). Topics include (but are not limited to):
- Stress Management
- Time Management / Procrastination
- Staying Healthy at College (Mind/Body Balance)
- Dealing with Conflict
- Changing bodies, Changing Minds (Body Image)
- Helping Yourself While Helping Others
- Healthy Relationships
- Disordered Eating
- Alcohol and Other Drugs
- How to Be a Helpful Bystander for Sexual Assault (Enhanced Training for Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors)
If you are a Clark University staff, faculty or student, and you would like a counselor to speak to your group, please feel free to contact CPG Community Education Coordinator, Shawn McGuirk.