UNH’s Health & Wellness Showcases Resources for Students through Annual Wellness Fest

Kaylin Moriarty, Staff Writer

DURHAM, NH- To draw attention to mental health resources available on campus, the University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) Health & Wellness hosted Wellness Fest on Thursday, Sept. 29. Tables filled with informational pamphlets and merchandise lined the courts of the Hamel Recreation Center (HRC) as eager advocates promoted their services.

Wellness Fest is an annual event that takes place at UNH that  connects students with wellness organizations  and encourages students to  participate in activities that benefit mental health.

Fourth year students Clara Richards and Molly McAree were on their way to the gym when the inviting energy of Wellness Fest caught their attention.

“We haven’t been here for long, but we were just going to go-go-go all day and now we are taking time to do some relaxing activities,” said Richards, as she and McAree participated in one of the table’s rock painting activities.

Marie McCarthy and Nina Marinaccio were two of the UNH Health & Wellness interns that organized this year’s Wellness Fest. Both expressed that by hosting this event they wanted students to be aware of the different ways to improve and maintain their mental health.

“I just hope they [UNH students]) feel supported by the community at UNH, and also that they know they have resources if they ever are in need,” added Marinaccio.

Many of the UNH’s mental health resources were in attendance including Health &Wellness, Living Well Services, Psychological and Counseling Services (PACS) and Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP).

“We love this event, every single year we’ve tabled at it really since its inception,” said Erica Vazza, interim director at SHARPP. “We love wellness. It’s important to look at it from a holistic perspective, and Health & Wellness does a really good job of bringing everyone together to think critically about how we can be a more well community.”

Mental health and wellbeing play a critical role in the success of a student. According to a survey report conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 64% of respondents dropped out of college due to mental health related reasons, and 50% of those same respondents did not access mental health services or support.

“Any time you are consistently under the weather, if you will, that affects our ability to do our jobs, including to be students,” said Dr. Elisa Bolton, director of PACS.

Dr. Bolton spoke in an interview with The New Hampshire about a new campaign started by Living Well Services and PACS associated with the mental health continuum. The campaign helps students identify how they are feeling and what they can do about it in terms of finding the right resource and coping strategies. It can be found on PACS  and the goal is to give students a place to start in terms of dealing with their mental health.

“It really helps identify the fact that we all have mental health, not all of us have mental illness, but we all have mental health,” said Dr. Bolton. “We all struggle at times and so hopefully for the stigma that may remain it helps decrease that stigma, and helps people feel like they know where to go when they are struggling.”

For students seeking support, more information about PACS, Living Well Services and SHARPP can be found on their websites. PACS and Living Well Services offer appointment scheduling through their website. PACS also offers 24/7 crisis and emergency services. SHARPP offers a 24/7 support helpline and no appointments are needed for an office visit.

Psychological and Counseling Services (PACS)– (603) 862-2090

Living Well Services– (603) 862-3823

Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP)– Office (603) 862-3494) / 24/7 Support Helpline (603) 862-7233

Jackie Weik
Jackie Weik
Jackie Weik