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Seton Hall University

New Jersey Higher Education Mental Health Summit Breakout Sessions

Review the Breakout Sessions Below: 

Morning Breakout Sessions 
11 a.m. - Noon

Beyond the Books: Promoting Psychological Well-Being Among First-Gen Students

Krish Sehgal, Ph.D., Rutgers University- New Brunswick 

Fifty-six percent of all college students in the U.S. are first generation students, i.e. their parents don't hold bachelor's degrees and come from low-income or minority backgrounds (NASPA, 2021). Higher education has traditionally provided support to First Generation College Students (FGCS) through a bridge program focused on developing academic skills. Despite being a critical component of academic success, the risk of attrition in the first year for FGCS is 71% higher than non-FGCS (Ishitani, 2003). Focusing on the psychological impact of being a FGCS and FGCS of Color (FGCSOC) can improve retention and academic performance. This presentation will explore systemic and personal factors impacting the mental health of FGCS and FGCSOC. It will explore additional steps higher education institutions can take to address these factors at the institutional level. In addition to academic programs, college counseling centers have a significant role to play in helping FGCS and FGCSOC succeed. Attendees will also learn about steps counseling centers can take to enhance psychological well-being, improve academic performance, and increase retention of FGCS and FGCSOC.

Do More With Less: Using a Prevention-Focused, Trauma-Informed Lens for Community College Mental Health

Kristen Wilson, DSocSci, M.S., C.T.S.S., Diane Mussoline, DSocSci, L.M.F.T., and Ruby Aparicio-Pagan, L.S.W.,
Rowan University

College students' positive mental health is integral to academic success, the college experience, overall health, and success after graduation. Although enrollment may be getting closer to pre-pandemic numbers, the needs of college students have significantly increased in the past four years. This presentation will review existing research and highlight trauma-informed strategies rooted in prevention science that have shaped the development of a case management model of student support at Rowan College South Jersey.

It Takes a Village: A Collaborative Holistic Approach to Addressing Interpersonal Violence Toward Undergraduate and Graduate Students in Higher Education

Louis Castle, L.C.S.W., LaShawn Adams, L.A.C., N.C.C. and Carrie Genovese, L.P.C., Princeton University

This presentation will provide a general overview of interpersonal violence occurring on higher education campuses. Information topics include Sexual Harassment, Advising, Resource Center (SHARE) and Community Integrity Program at Princeton University and the benefit of implementing a collaborative approach to recovery for both survivors and alleged offenders.

Leveling Up your Crisis Response Skills in the Residence Halls, with a Splash of Wellness!

Anne Eke, M.B.A., Ramapo College of New Jersey

It’s 3:00 a.m. and the on-duty phone is ringing… Yikes! This presentation will discuss ways to strengthen critical thinking skills, set a good foundation of understanding incident protocols  and discuss self-care for new professionals, as it relates to managing escalated crisis incidents in Residence Life.  We will also discuss ways for seasoned professionals to build upon training programs to ensure support and promotion of wellness within Residence Life.

Power of Pebbles
Dawn Meza Soufleris, Ph.D., Montclair State University

This presentation will focus upon the research regarding the canine-campus connection, the impact of therapy dogs on campus life, the logistics needed to sustain the program, data, and testimonials from our students and staff about the impact Montclair State University's mascot Pebbles has had on their mental health and wellness mindset.
Student Athlete Mental Health: An Interdisciplinary Perspective and National Trend

Anthony Testa, M.Ed., Seton Hall University
Peter Economou, Ph.D., ABPP, Seton Hall University

Across the country, student-athletes are faced with stressors that significantly impact their health and wellbeing, and Seton Hall has led the Big East conference by creating programs for student-athletes more than 12 years ago. The athletic trainer, one member of the interdisciplinary group, is a first line care provider for all medical needs of the student-athlete including orthopedic, medical, and mental health needs. Attendees of this presentation will review the specific external and internal stressors that student-athletes contend with beginning during their time in youth athletics that follow them to the crossroads of professional sports or the end of their athletic career. The NCAA best practices will be woven throughout, along with systems-based solutions to treat this vulnerable group. 

Supporting Autistic Students in College

Suzanne Calgi, LCSW, Ramapo College

Given the increase in diagnoses of autism in New Jersey and in the US overall, we expect the numbers of autistic college students will follow suit.    As a result, all college staff will benefit from knowing how to identify and communicate effectively with autistic students.  

The Journey Toward Becoming a Health Promoting Campus: A Case Study

Salvador Mena, Ph.D., Arpana Inman, Ph.D., Francesca Maresca, Ph.D., and Nao'a Shimoni, M.D.
Rutgers University- New Brunswick 

The existing, and growing, mental health crisis and COVID-19 combined to create an imperative to address mental health with a comprehensive, holistic, whole-system approach. This session is a case study of a large 4-year, research university aspiring to become a health promoting university.

The Madison Holleran Act Amendment (A1176): Its Purpose and Impact on New Jersey Campuses

Carli Bushoven, B.A., Executive Director, Madison Holleran Foundation
Kathleen Comanto, B.A., J.D, Deputy Secretary of Higher Education
Zainab Okolo, Ed.D, LCMFT, M.A., The JED Foundation

On October 19, 2023, the Murphy Administration signed into law an amendment to the Madison Holleran Suicide Prevention Act that will, as of the fall semester in 2024, require all institutions of higher education in New Jersey to "annually train employees and staff, raise awareness among students, and improve access to resources." The law further  mandates that each institution "establish a mental health crisis and response plan to be used by campus staff, faculty, and RAs to identify, assess and respond to a student who is experiencing a mental health crisis" and to include in this plan, every five years, an environmental assessment addressing "elements of the campus environment that might be used in a suicide attempt." 

This panel will address these mandates and how schools might respond to them.

What's the Point of Having a College Counseling Center Today?

Eric Rose, Ph.D., Stevens Institute of Technology
Jonathan Murakami, Psy.D., The College of New Jersey

In this presentation, the presenters will explore diverse avenues for channeling the modern students' desire to help "solve the mental health problem." Participants will hear a description of how one college leveraged partnerships to co-create an array of opportunities for such engagement. 

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Afternoon Breakout Sessions 
1:45 - 2:45 p.m. 

Building Bridges: Best Practices and Collaborative Care for Student Athlete Mental Health

Mike Gross, Psy.D., L.P.C., C.M.P.C., Jonathan Pastor, Psy.D., Sasha Steinlight, M.D., Jason Gallucci, M.S., M.S.C.C.
Princeton University

At Princeton University, over the past ten years we have constructed an integrative service approach which provides holistic mental health support to student-athletes. This presentation reviews the development of this collaborative system based on science, data and the input of administrators and providers across disciplines.

Creating Community Partnerships to Support and Strengthen the Student Experience

Helen Archontou, M.S.W., L.S.W., YWCA Northern NJ and healingSPACE

As the pandemic recedes, our institutions of higher learning need to be focused on the value of community-engaged partnerships. Creating programs geared toward civic engagement for students, and also expert resources needed to address complex student needs creates a "win-win" scenario for campus communities.  

Creating Services and an Environment that Supports People of Color and Diverse Populations

Phyllis Bolling, Ph.D., New Jersey Institute of Technology
Kalpana Daswani, Psy.D., L.M.H.C., Shalin Bhatt, L.P.C., L.C.A.D.C., Sudha Wadhwani, Psy.D., Montclair State University

The 2020 census cites New Jersey as the 7th most diverse state in the US. and given this, our counseling centers are likely to encounter a very diverse population of students seeking services. However, lower rates of utilization and greater unmet mental health needs are often cited among students of color and diverse student populations.  Thus, the need for welcoming, culturally appropriate programs/services that effectively reach diverse populations is critical.  This workshop will provide an overview of the landscape of diversity and examples of culturally responsive practices/interventions that go beyond mainstream approaches.  Discussion will include innovative center structures/practices/programs that are more attuned to the unique characteristics and help-seeking styles/preferences of diverse students such as group interventions, embedded or department liaison models, innovative outreach and partnerships with off-campus providers. 

Equitable Strategies for Mental Health Support on Campus

Erlinda Delacruz, M.A., The Jed Foundation

Equitable implementation is the backbone of The Jed Foundation'sComprehensive Approach. This session will provide participants with discussion opportunities to ask questions and learn from each other about equity in mental health and through debriefing current challenges.

Intentionally Serving Out First-Generation Students of Color Through Mission Integration for a Holistic Approach to Student Well-Being

Mehtap Ferrazzano, M.S.W., Janel Owens, Ed.D., and Kathy Murray, L.C.S.W., Felician University

Presenters will host a roundtable style session to present on how Felician University Student Affairs team integrated the university's mission and core values (Respect for Human Dignity, Compassion, Transformation and Solidarity with People in Need) to address increasing psychological and social difficulties for first-generation students of color.

Leading a Psychologically Healthy Workplace

Dianne Aguero-Trotter, Ph.D., Seton Hall University
Amy Hoch, Ph.D., Rowan University

Our workforce is in transition. More than ever, people are seeking meaning in their work and a balanced lifestyle. Simultaneously, technology and increased remote and virtual work has made today's work environments more fast-paced and demanding. This session is designed to provide practical, evidence-based strategies to implement leadership practices that foster psychological safety within any work team.

The Benefits of Providing EMDR Therapy in a Short-Term College Counseling Setting

Robin Davenport, M.S., Caldwell University
While Cognitive Behavioral (CBT) and Solution-Focused Therapies are a common go-to for counselors who do short-term work, these therapies can be limited in accessing the emotions that often fuel the negative symptoms from earlier trauma.  EMDR is a powerful, quick-moving therapy that can resolve the distressing symptoms associated with past trauma.

The Every Mind Project: Strengthening the Infrastructure of New Jersey's Community Colleges to Meet Students' Mental Health and Wellness Needs

Jacob Farbman, Ed.D., A.P.R., NJ Council of County Colleges
Doreen Pontius, M.S.W, L.C.S.W., Hudson Community College
Yannick Ladson, Ed.D., Mercer Community College
Ruth Kaluski, M.A., Mental Health Association in NJ

To increase supports for community college students throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, the Mental Health Association in New Jersey, and the New Jersey Department of Health created The Every Mind Project, which incorporates evidence-based professional development for faculty, staff and students.

The Students Want to Help: New Avenues for Student Involvement in Promoting a Positive Mental Health Culture on Campus

Eric Rose, Ph.D., Ying Xiong, Ph.D., Diane Sosa, M.A., L.P.C., N.C.C., Paula Sands, Psy.D. Stevens Institute of Technology

This presentation will aim to provide attendees with tools and perspectives for looking critically at the counseling center model they implement at their college or university. Attendees will be introduced to the distinction between absorption vs. treatment in the context of meeting student needs.

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