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Workshops | Concurrent Sessions | Plenary Sessions



Wednesday, March 12, 2:15 - 5:15 p.m.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as a First Year Seminar (FYS)

Jacqueline Pistorello, PhD, Research Faculty, University of Nevada Reno Counseling Services; Douglas M Long, MA, Doctoral Candidate in Clinical Psychology, University of Nevada Reno

This 3-hour workshop will provide a brief overview of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) processes and techniques. The workshop will include didactic presentations and experiential exercises that could be conducted with college freshmen in a classroom environment. Data on satisfaction and perceived usefulness of an ACT FYS will also be presented. This will be an interactive and often experiential workshop.

Healthy Universities: Beyond Mental Health to a Holistic Approach to Student Wellbeing and Success

Helen M. Stallman, PhD, DClinPsych, CertMedEd, MAPS, School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy, University of South Australia

This workshop aims to explore the broader contextual influences on student mental health and academic success for college students and intervention strategies that are both preventative and student-centered.  The benefits of an integrated approach to healthy universities will be discussed.   Interventions that integrate teaching, learning, wellbeing, and success will be highlighted. The workshop will consist of both didactic and group discussion components.  Multidisciplinary group exercises will enable participants to work with a variety of stakeholders to consider barriers to healthy university environments and develop strategies for small changes that will produce big differences in student success at their own college. This workshop is intended for all persons interested in student success including students, parents, faculty, support service staff and administrators. 

Two Group Models: Social Skills Training and DBT-Based Interventions for Students

Sara R Byczek, PhD, Psychologist; Jennifer Crystal, PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor; Patricia L. Dixon, LMSW, Counseling and Psychological Services, Wayne State University

This workshop will discuss two group model programs that have been used at Wayne State University’s CAPS to assist students struggling with depressive symptoms. The first group utilizes the work of Elizabeth Laugeson and Fred Frankel on social skill development for teenagers with developmental and autism spectrum disorders.  The second group utilizes the work of Marsha Linehan along with the “Coping Skills for Life” program developed by Integrated Health Care Programs Hope and Cope Wellness Center. This group focuses on development of mindfulness skills, emotional regulation, effective communication skills and distress tolerance for symptom management.  The presenters will share their experiences implementing these groups to university students, possible challenges, and example activities. This presentation will provide audience members the opportunity to try some of the different group activities and share their experience.  This program could be helpful for any mental health professional working with college aged individuals, but especially for mental health professionals working on a college campus.

Students Supporting Students on College Campuses: Fostering Healthy Connections

Charles C. Morse, MA, LMHC, Assistant Dean for Student Development, Director of Counseling, Worcester Polytechnic Institute Student Development & Counseling Center; Patrick Gilligan, MSSW, LISW, Director of Counseling Services, Kenyon College; Tim Jurney, Student Manager, Kenyon College Peer Counselors, Kenyon '15; Gina Rickert, Founding Member, Kenyon College Peer Counselors

Compelling new data points to the importance of enhancing peer support on campus for mental health issues. The research suggests that students turn to each other first and most often for help when experiencing emotional distress. This workshop will review two approaches to enhancing peer support which have been developed on the campuses of Kenyon College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and explore the idea of peer-based models of support for colleges in general.

The Kenyon College Peer Counselors were founded in 2011 when students and college administrators recognized a gap between students in need and the support systems already in place to help them. The role of the 40-some Peer Counselors is to provide peer support, mental health information, and greater connectedness between students in need of help and the greater community. They work to destigmatize and demystify issues of mental and emotional health and to demonstrate that coping with life's challenges is best done as a collaborative enterprise in the company of friends.

AT Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) the Student Development and Counseling Center developed and implemented a six week training program for students called Student Support Network (SSN). Students are both invited and recruited to participate in the training program which focuses on developing knowledge, skills and perspectives which help them provide support to peers in distress. Over the past several years students have enthusiastically gathered in groups of 15-18 to complete SSN training and with ongoing training, at any given time over 400 students are part of the WPI Student Support Network.

This workshop will provide the opportunity to hear about both of these peer support approaches with ample time allotted for questions and discussing about other ideas for peer support programs on college campuses.


2:15 – 3:45 pm

Cultivating Student Success Through Mindfulness Training

Denise Kozikowski, PhD, Advisor, Student Academic Affairs, College of Literature, Science & the Arts, University of Michigan

This workshop will cover the recent research related to mindfulness and student success, will look at the benefits that students have reported, and will explore a range of obstacles that may be experienced creating and sustaining a mindfulness program for university students.   Workshop attendees will participate in several mindfulness practices that Denise teaches students, and will conclude with a Q&A segment allowing participants to hear directly from the students who attend these sessions regularly.

3:45 – 5:15 pm

Media Literacy as a Tool for Student Wellness and Success

Kellie Carbone, MA, LMFT and MaryJo Desprez, MA, University Health Service, University of Michigan

In spite of the view that today’s college students are technologically savvy, it has been shown that do not have all the tools to critically analyze media messages that are designed to influence the choices they make about their health and overall wellness. In the face of increasing media exposure students need new strategies to critique the messages that impact their self-esteem and overall sense of wellness. Media literacy is recognized as an evidence-based tool, and this interactive presentation will promote using it as both a primary prevention and intervention technique for alcohol and other drug use, eating disorders, and sexual violence. The benefits of teaching this skill will be highlighted, as well as strategies for using media as a springboard for engaging students in health and wellness programs with a goal that students create an authentic and integrated college experience and a foundation for long-term success.


Concurrent Sessions

Thursday, March 13, 10:45 - 12:00 pm

The PAVE Program: A Prototype for Outreach to Student Veterans

Brittany Konarz, MSW, Program Coordinator, Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE), University of Michigan Depression Center; Philip Larson, MSEd, Program Director for Military and Veteran Services, University of Michigan; Andrew Floyd, Peer Advisor Lead, PAVE/U-M Student Veteran; Tim Ruple, Peer Advisor, PAVE/U-M Student Veteran

The PAVE Program is a peer mentoring program that connects incoming student veterans with student veterans who have successfully transitioned to campus in order to help them navigate college life; identify any challenges that they are encountering and refer them to the appropriate resources on or off campus; and provide ongoing support.  The PAVE Program is currently operating at the University of Michigan, Auburn University, University of Maryland, Central Michigan University, University of Michigan – Flint, and Eastern Michigan University. The program has trained over 40 student veterans to be Peer Advisors and 20 Peer Advisor Leads (PALs) in 2013. PAVE will expanding to additional campuses in the fall of 2014.

Sleeping to Success:  Improving Sleep to Enhance Mood and Academic Performance

J. Todd Arnedt, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry; Shelley Hershner, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology; and Leslie Swanson, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan

Sleepiness, sleep deprivation, and depression are highly prevalent among college students.   Sleep may be an underappreciated risk factor for both depression and poor academic performance.  The National College Health Assessment in 2010 indicated poor sleep quality was associated with prescription drug misuse, increased stress, higher blood alcohol levels when drinking , increased emotional distress, and poorer grades.   Despite the high prevalence of sleep problems on campuses, few practical and effective interventions to improve sleep are available to college students.   This symposium will highlight the current research linking sleep, depression, and academic performance; describe a public health campaign to promote healthy sleep on campus; and outline evidence-based practices for improving sleep disturbances in depression with a focus on novel technologies. 

Wise Interventions: Brief Exercises to Bolster Belonging, Improve Students' Transition to College, Remedy Inequality, and Improve Health

Gregory M. Walton, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Stanford University

This talk will discuss several brief social-psychological interventions designed to address the worry many students have when they enter college, "Maybe I don't belong." This worry can loom largest for students who face negative stereotypes or underrepresentation in school, such as ethnic-minority students and women in STEM. It leads students to interpret everyday social stressors, like feelings of loneliness, as evidence that they do not belong in general. The social-belonging intervention gives students an alternative frame for understanding such negative events--namely, that everyone has difficulty in the transition to a new school, and such events do not portend a global lack of belonging. This intervention, which last an hour or less, can raise students' school achievement over months and years. Because the benefits are greatest among at-risk students, it reduces inequality. In one study, the intervention reduced the Black/White achievement gap from sophomore through senior year by 50% (Walton & Cohen, 2011). Studies include both small-scale trials that afford a precise examination of underlying psychological process--such as how the intervention changes how students construe daily adversities--and full-scale trials that assess the benefits on a campus-wide basis. Discussion addresses the contribution of social-psychological processes to school achievement, how such processes self-reinforce over time, and opportunities for positive reform.

CANCELLED*: Vanderbilt School of Medicine Student Wellness Program: Supporting All Dimensions of Student Well-Being

Scott M. Rodgers, MD, Associate Dean for Medical Student Affairs, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

*Unfortunately Dr. Scott Rodgers is not able to attend the conference due to the impending inclement weather. If you had registered for his presentation, please feel free to attend any of the other sessions that are offered during this time period, including the new option below. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

NEW: Stress Management Goes Mobile: How and Why the University of Michigan is Using an App to Boost Outreach and Resilience

Todd Sevig, PhD, Director, University of Michigan Counseling and Psychological Services; Members of the CAPS Student Advisory Board; Jordan Friedman, MPH, Health Educator and Director, Stressbusters

Where are our students? They are on their phones and tablets which is why University of Michigan Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) partnered with the national Stressbusters outreach program to bring an innovative mental health app to the Michigan community. Now, notifications about campus programs, daily resilience-boosters, student and department videos, emergency services, chill audio tracks and even an airline-style healthy activity rewards program, are right on students’ mobile devices. This program presents the stats driving CAPS to go mobile, an app demo, and how it’s being used to promote services and mental health.

Thursday, March 13, 1:30 - 2:45 pm

The Economic Case for Student Mental Health Services and Programs

Daniel Eisenberg, PhD, Associate Professor, Health Management and Policy, School of Public Health, University of Michigan; Sarah Ketchen Lipson, EdM, PhD student, School of Public Health and School of Education, University of Michigan

This session will discuss the intuition and theory for why mental health services and programs for college students might be a good investment from an economic perspective, due to the connection between mental health and educational outcomes.  The discussion will consider both the college/university's financial perspective as well as a broader societal perspective.  Empirical data will be presented from the Healthy Minds Study and other sources.

Sending the Right Message: Rethinking How We Communicate About Suicide and Mental Health on Campus

Kerri Smith, LCSW, MPH, Senior Campus Prevention Specialist and Sheila Krishnan, MPH, Campus Prevention Specialist, Suicide Prevention Resource Center

Messages about mental health and suicide prevention can both help and harm someone who may be at risk for suicide. Studies have shown that certain kinds of news coverage about suicide can put vulnerable individuals at increased risk. The risk of conveying unsafe messages extends beyond media coverage; even well-intentioned campus mental health promotion materials may contain messages that could influence vulnerable individuals or reinforce negative narratives about mental health. Campus professionals convey messages about suicide in a variety of ways (e.g., websites, posters, social media, and events), and each contributes to how mental health is perceived by a campus community. This interactive session will outline evidence-based recommendations for communicating safely and effectively about suicide, and discuss how campuses can frame their events and materials in ways that are tailored to campus-specific needs and promote hope, recovery and resilience. Examples of campaigns and media coverage will be highlighted.

Is Technology and Facebook Consumption a Barrier to Student Well-Being?

Ethan Kross, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, and Director, Emotion and Self-Control Laboratory, University of Michigan; Mark Ostach, MS, Founder of

The average college student spends over eight hours a day connected to digital devices.  In some extreme cases, students can be connected for over eighteen hours a day.  How does the long-term impact of a student’s digital dependencies effect their overall health & well-being, and their academic success? The first half of our presentation will focus on recent research examining Facebook’s impact on our overall well-being.  The second half of the presentation will provide a general overview of technology addiction and resources to prevent college students from becoming digitally obese.

Wellness Mentoring to Decrease Depression Among College Students

Kyle Bishop, EdD, Director of Counseling Services, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

The session will provide information regarding the collaboration between St. Mary's College of Maryland Counseling Services and campus Athletics to develop the Wellness Mentor Program (WMP). The WMP is  a group of volunteer coaches and trainers who work with students who are struggling with mental health issues, particularly depression. The primary objective of the program is to help students seeking mental health services increase levels of healthy exercise. The session will provide information regarding the mental health benefits of exercise, as well as the frequent obstacles that many students who are struggling with depression face in order to engage in regular, healthy exercise. Additionally, the session will provide an in-depth framework of the WMP including treatment plans, recruitment of coaches and trainers, referral of students, and assessment of the program's effectiveness


Plenary Sessions

Opening Keynote: Wednesday, March 12, 1:00 - 2:00 pm

The Science of Resilience: Implications for Prevention and Treatment of Depression in College Students

Steven M Southwick, MD, Glenn H. Greenberg Professor of Psychiatry, PTSD and Resilience, Yale University School of Medicine and Yale Child Study Center

This lecture will focus on the emerging science of resilience to stress and how this science can inform efforts to treat and possibly prevent depression in college students. Topics will include genetic, developmental, psychological, social, and neurobiological factors associated with resilience. Finally, strategies and approaches to enhance resilience will be described.

Panel Discussion: Thursday,March 13, 9:00- 10:15 am

Connections between Mental Health and Academic Outcomes

Amelia M. Arria, PhD, Associate Professor, Director, Center on Young Adult Health and Development, University of Maryland School of Public Health, Department of Behavioral and Community Health; Joseph M Behen, PhD, Executive Director, Counseling Health and Disability Services, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Daniel Eisenberg, PhD, Associate Professor, Health Management and Policy, School of Public Health, University of Michigan; Sara Goldrick-Rab, PhD, Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies and Sociology, University of Wisconsin, Madison

How does student mental health fit into the educational missions of colleges and universities? This panel will discuss research indicating that depression and other mental health conditions are strong predictors of academic outcomes such as GPA and persistence in college. The panel will also discuss how this kind of research has been used in discussions with university presidents and other higher education administrators.

Closing Keynote: Thursday, March 13, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

On Purpose: Lessons in Life and Health from the Frog, the Dung Beetle, and Julia

Victor J. Strecher, PhD, MPH, Professor and Director for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship, University of Michigan School of Public Health

Long-held assumptions and beliefs about health, motivation, and change -- subjects on which Dr. Strecher has been writing and speaking for years -- are reconsidered.  This presentation takes a graphic journey through ancient and modern philosophy, literature, psychology, genetics, neuroscience, and Egyptology, where you will be introduced to an unlikely role model:  a six-legged superhero with a unique relationship to a ball of excrement.  In the presentation, Dr. Strecher will also demonstrate a platform of multimedia strategies designed to help people make quantum, meaningful, and fully engaged changes in their lives, which can positively impact both physical and mental health.