“Minding Your Mind”

Katie Cressman (kacressman@ursinus.edu)

On Sunday evening, the Ursinus College Athletics Department sponsored an event over Zoom with a nonprofit organization, “Minding Your Mind,” to help the UC student body learn about symptoms of anxiety and depression, how to cope with these symptoms, and how to support yourself or others around you who may be struggling. The meeting began with an introduction, including an overview about the nonprofit organization. “Minding Your Mind” is a program that provides educational content for children and students ranging from elementary school through college. In addition, some programs are aimed specifically at parents to help their children through mental health challenges. The organization’s overarching goal is to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.

The panel consisted of three experts: Sheila Gillin, Andrew Onimus, and Jordan Burnham. Gillin is a licensed clinician with more than 15 years of experience and Burnham has been working with the organization for over eight years now. Lastly, Onimus, a previous student athlete at Muhlenberg College, shared his mental health struggles.

After introductions, both Onimus and Burnham shared their mental health journeys. They introduced some of the common themes that were going to be discussed during the session, including some of the signs and symptoms of anxiety and/or depression and coping techniques. Each speaker acknowledged that recognizing symptoms can be a challenge, but explained the benefits of coping mechanisms and how to use them. 

Some of the ways they discussed coping included, but were not limited to, investing time doing things you enjoy with those you love and care about, taking advantage of human interaction in any form, realizing what resources you have, and partaking in things that promote creating structure in your life such as investing in a planner, scheduler, or journaling.

Many of the student athletes reported that the most standout part of the program for them was witnessing the personal stories shared. Emma Illovsky, a freshman at Ursinus College, explained that it “made me realize that everyone has a story, and you will never be able to understand what people are going through or are going through. In some cases, you would never know they were in the first place.”

To conclude the discussion, head Volleyball coach Cecily Scaviccio, posed a crucial question worth disputing. “How does this information relate back to our team?” Junior Luca Walborn thinks that “acknowledging what we are struggling with personally is a big first step to take. Once that’s done, being open about it is even more important. As a team, we can only expect from others what we hold ourselves accountable for, too. Meaning, if we ask others to be vulnerable and open, it is important we ourselves do the same!” Overall, the virtual panel was quite powerful. For anybody currently struggling with mental health issues, the Wellness and Counseling Center is available for all UC students and staff. Experts can be reached at: 610-409-3100.