PEACE Project: Making mental health a priority - Indian River State College
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PEACE Project: Making mental health a priority

Making mental health a priority at IRSC

5 Questions with Katherine Kennedy, PEACE Project Coordinator

Katherine Kennedy, PEACE Project Coordinator

WHAT IS THE PEACE PROJECT?

PEACE stands for “Promoting Education and Awareness about Campus Emotional health.” It’s a grant-funded program and our goal is to get the word out about mental health strategies, prioritizing mental health around IRSC and making that just as important as physical health. We really want to make mental health a priority for students. We want them to know we’re here to support them.

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR IRSC STUDENTS TO FOCUS ON MENTAL HEALTH?

Mental health on the college campus is really super important. There can be a misconception sometimes that college is all fun. But that’s not always true. Most IRSC students work. Most are busy with other things in their personal lives, and it can all get really stressful. We want students to know that we recognize that, and we are here for them. We don’t want anyone to feel like they’re alone in how they’re feeling.

WHAT SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE TO IRSC STUDENTS?

We offer monthly mental health screenings to IRSC students. Our general screening consists of just a few questions on how you’ve been feeling recently. This quick check-in helps you acknowledge some of the emotions that have been going on and helps us identify any resources that might benefit you. This is a great opportunity to sit down, take a little time for self-care, and acknowledge what’s going on. Students may sit down with me, or with Dr. Robin Zide from Suncoast Mental Health Center in Fort Pierce. Dr. Zide is kind enough to join us for and help with these screenings. For more information, students may call 772-462-7825 or email healthandwellness@irsc.edu.

The BayCare Student Assistance Program is also available to students. Through this partnership, students may get four free, confidential counseling sessions with BayCare. These sessions can be virtual, in-person, or over the phone. They’re tailored to students, so they really work with some of those common mental health challenges that students face, as well as more severe things. Students may call 1-800-878-5470 or email BayCareSAP@BayCare.org for more information.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR STUDENTS?

Please reach out for help if you need it. Even if you’re just feeling off, or if you’re overwhelmed, if something is bothering you, we have a lot of resources here, as well as in the community.

I also encourage students to prioritize their self-care. Find what works for you, what brings you peace, what makes you comfortable, and make that a point each day, or each week, or however often you feel that you need it. I think that’s really helpful when it comes to mental health.

HOW CAN STUDENTS LEARN MORE?

The Health and Wellness Center is located in Building U on Massey Campus. Students may call 772-462-7825 or email healthandwellness@irsc.edu for more information. They may also visit our webpage at https://irsc.edu/student-life/health-and-wellness-center.html. The PEACE Project is on Instagram (@peaceprojectirsc) and Facebook.

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