Mina Tocalini illustration for mental health article inside 360 magazine

College Mental Health Webinar

College students are facing a serious mental health crisis, driven in part by the pandemic.  After nearly two years of remote schooling, restricted gatherings, and constant Covid testing, many students are anxious, socially isolated, depressed—and are overwhelming campus mental health centers.

According to a nationwide survey of college students conducted by the Healthy Minds Network and the American College Health Association, the pandemic has intensified a decade-long trend of increased rates of depression, anxiety, substance misuse, and serious thoughts of suicide.  

An expert panel of psychologists will examine what is causing this crisis, what is being done, and tips on how to identify the symptoms of depression and anxiety and how students and their families can find the support they need to build resiliency to lead a mentally healthy college experience. The webinar is free and open to the public.  

The Moderator

M. Dolores Cimini, PhD: Director, Center for Behavioral Health Promotion and Applied Research, University at Albany-SUNY, and Director of the nationally recognized Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program, Dr. Cimini has led comprehensive efforts in research-to-practice translation at the University at Albany for the past 30 years with over $910 million in support from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Justice, and New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports. The screening and brief intervention program developed by Dr. Cimini (the STEPS Comprehensive Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention Program) has earned 13 national awards for best practices and innovation in behavioral health care. Dr. Cimini has co-edited two books, including a volume focused on college student health and well-being entitled Promoting Behavioral Health and Reducing Risk Among College Students: A Comprehensive Approach (2018)

The Panel

Amie Haas, PhD: Dr. Haas is a professor at Palo Alto University in the Department of Psychology with a specialization in college student substance abuse issues. Her research focuses on the identification of high-risk drinking and drug use practices in college students and the development of targeted interventions using a harm reduction model. She worked in collaboration with Santa Clara University for several years developing new programs for alcohol prevention and education and has consulted with other universities to guide campus prevention programming. Her work focuses on behaviors like pregaming (i.e., drinking before students go out to consume alcohol at a function), co-occurring cannabis and alcohol use, overdoses, and factors related to alcohol-induced blackout and sexual risk-taking. In her career, she has received funding through NIDA and the U.S. Department of Education.    

Donna Sheperis, PhD, LPC, NCC, ACS, CCMHC: A board Certified Tele-Mental Health Provider, she is a professor and associate chair of PAU’s Department of Counseling In addition, Dr. Sheperis is Director of the PAU eClinic which partners with college success agencies to provide mental health support to their students. Sheperis has 30 years of experience in clinical mental health counseling settings. Her work focuses on tele-mental health, internet interventions, technology & mental health, and adult mental health. She is past president of the Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling and on the Ethics Appeals Committee for the American Counseling Association.

Predair Robinson, PhD: Director of Academic Satellites, UC Davis Student Health and Counseling Services, Dr. Robinson is a clinical psychologist who directs the counseling and outreach services for eight academic satellites for UC Davis community students; this includes the four undergraduate dean’s offices, Veterinary Medicine, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, and Graduate Studies. In addition to managing programming, development, and personnel, he supervises and trains counseling staff, doctoral interns, and postdoctoral residents and provides short-term therapy and crisis intervention services for students. Prior to joining UC Davis, he served as Interim Director of the Sexual and Gender Identities Clinic (SGIC), a specialty training clinic affiliated with Palo Alto University. In this role, he provided clinical supervision to second-year doctoral trainees who treated LGBTQ+ folks in the Bay Area.  

About Palo Alto University (PAU)

PAU is a private, non-profit university located in the heart of Northern California’s Silicon Valley It’s dedicated to addressing pressing and emerging issues in the fields of psychology and counseling that meet the needs of today’s diverse society. PAU offers undergraduate and graduate programs that are led by faculty who make significant contributions in their field. Online, hybrid, and residential program options are available. PAU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).  PAU’s doctoral programs are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and its master’s in counseling programs by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP). 

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