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The Horizon

The Student News Site of Westmont College

The Horizon

The Student News Site of Westmont College

The Horizon

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New “Wellness Wednesdays” create space for students to explore holistic health and wellness

Michaela Morris
Wellness Gathering Illustration

Last year, a survey of Gen Z showed that 42% were diagnosed with a mental health condition, according to Charlie Health. This statistic is absurdly high, and its implications are obvious for Westmont students. The mental health of the student population is threatened severely, particularly in the wake of COVID-19 and by anxiety, depression, ADHD and PTSD. Moreover, our Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has recognized a growing desire among the student body to discuss health holistically. 

In response, Wellness Coordinator Megan Drost has spearheaded a new series of “Wellness Wednesdays” this semester. “Wellness Wednesdays are designed to be a safe, consistent and encouraging place to discuss important topics and challenges related to mental, emotional and physical health that may not get touched upon in chapel or classes, but that are key to living overall healthy lives,” she said.

Drost has enlisted a diverse group of experienced mentors to lead Wellness Wednesdays each week. We spoke with Dr. Liz Robertson, residence director (RD) at Van Kampen Hall, who recently collaborated with Armington RD Jenna Conarroe to lead a session on the topic of “Smartphones and Social Media Use.” “Wellness Wednesday” meshed seamlessly with Residence Life’s educational focus for September, which was “Mindful Wellness.” Dr. Robertson’s presentation was interactive and open to student input, which allowed for deeper discourse on how to manage technology use and foster connectedness in the personal lives of students. The presentation emphasized the relationship between the smartphone and its users, asking the important question “who controls who?” It’s no secret that social media usage hasn’t exactly worked wonders for Gen Z’s body image or mental health in general.

Just last week, Worship Team Director Eben Drost led a “Wellness Wednesday” session on the topic “Adult Children of Alcoholics.” In this presentation, Drost shared his personal experiences and the wisdom he acquired through them. It’s safe to say he supports the new CAPS venture. “I think having ‘Wellness Wednesdays’ opens up a helpful space for people to learn about things that might directly impact their wellbeing. It’s really practical stuff that can make a difference in your quality of life,” Drost wrote earlier this week. 

Student response to the novel “Wellness Wednesday” program has been overwhelmingly positive. Although the sessions are small, students are consistently engaged, no matter the topic. This reinforces something many already knew: Gen Z wants and needs to be talking about their health. Faculty responses have been similarly positive. There is little concern about the lower turnouts, if anything, it is to the benefit of the organizers. “Because it is a brand new initiative, we want to give it time to grow and adapt as needed,” said Drost.

Though Wellness Wednesday speakers have been fully arranged for this semester, the program remains open to fresh topics and speakers for next semester. Drost invites you to reach out to her at in order to place suggestions for topics. Additionally, the program has an Instagram account @westmontwellness which is absolutely worth a follow. “I would love to see more people take advantage of these events! If you see Ollie, our golden retriever, tied up outside the DC, that can be your reminder that it’s happening!” says Drost.

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