ABOUT THE PROGRAM
The Mind Matters Town Hall Program at Cal State LA incorporates the wellness focus of President William A. Covino’s MIND MATTERS initiative to involve first year students in problem solving to improve mental health, wellness and wellbeing for the campus community. In their “Introduction to Higher Education” (IHE) classes, students use a “problem solving” framework to explore issues related to college student wellbeing.
Introduction to Higher Education faculty, register your class/es for Mind Matters Town Hall HERE.
Students taking Introduction to Higher Education, sign up for a Mind Matters Town Hall session HERE.
CONTACT INFORMATIONShifra Teitelbaum, Ed D Director of Mind Matters Town Hall firstname.lastname@example.org (310) 766-6631
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are the benefits of Mind Matters Town Hall (MMTH) for students?
Students have fun and opportunities to meet and interact with many other first year students
Town Halls are a campus-community-engagement experience that meets the GE Civic Learning requirement
Town Halls give students a chance to practice civic skills.
The Mind Matters Town Hall activities are easily incorporated into class assignments, and exercises.
Previous student participants have articulated an increased sense of belonging on the campus, and a better sense of ability to contribute to the campus community
Click this link to see a video of students talking about their experiences at Mind Matters Town Hall
Why do Town Halls work so well to support students’ transition to university life?
Through social interactions with their peers and more informal interactions with faculty at Town Hall meetings, students feel a sense of belonging and reduced alienation. As a result, students have a more positive perception of the campus community. Town Halls help students to develop a stronger sense of confidence about themselves as college students.
What are the steps of the problem solving process used at Mind Matters Town Hall that can be used to effect change in almost any civic or community context?
The steps of the problem solving process include:
Consider and propose solutions
Disseminate information about the problem (the Town Hall itself is an opportunity for students to disseminate)
Reflect about problem solving as a form of community engagement.
What are the expectations of students when they attend a Town Hall?
Based on the student feedback from last year, we know that the Town Halls are most successful when students are prepared and engaged.
We expect students to have identified a wellness issue of interest/ importance to them, to be familiar with the steps of a problem solving process, and to be prepared to share that issue and the reasons for concern at the Town Hall. We expect students to participate and take it seriously, and to be open to the process and to meeting new people.
What do you mean by wellness and well-being?
Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness; it is a dynamic process of change and growth. (UC Davis Student Health and Counseling Services).
"...a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." - The World Health Organization
Emotional wellness allows you to accept how you are feeling. Once you accept your feelings, you can begin to understand why you are feeling that way, and decide how you would like to act in response to those feelings. Being emotionally well grants you the power to express feelings without any constraints. In turn, you will be able to enjoy emotional expression and be capable of forming supportive and interdependent relationships with others.
Wellbeing refers to a more holistic whole-of-life experience. Watkinson (Allan Watkinson, Engagement Manager, Gallup Consulting, March 2011) identified five essential elements of wellbeing:
Career wellbeing — whether you like what you do each day (which is not necessarily work)
Social wellbeing — relationships and love
Financial wellbeing — managing finances in order to reduce stress and increase security
Physical wellbeing — levels of health and energy
Community wellbeing — involvement in community activities.
Watkinson added that perceptions rather than actual measurement influence wellbeing; that is, comparisons with the circumstances of others.
What kinds of wellness/ wellbeing issues do you have in mind?
Students have unique experiences and perspectives. We want to leave the options open wide, so they can contribute in ways that are most relevant and meaningful to them.
Students often identify issues like time management, stress, feeling academically unprepared, lack of self-confidence, social isolation, family issues, and poverty/hunger/ homelessness.
However, we see wellness and wellbeing in broad terms, as things that contribute to the public good, so issues like lack of political engagement; climate change; immigration policy; health/sex education; animal welfare; food deserts; and/or (lack of access to) social services or other resources, all fit within this wellness/wellbeing framework. They could explore these issues as they relate to the Cal State LA campus community.
For issues such as depression or anxiety, we encourage students to connect with the Health Center and Counseling and Psychological Services, to get the resources and support they may need.