Club Feature: Mental Health Club & The Shaw Center


The Mental Health club has recently transferred from the Takoma Park campus to hold monthly meetings on the Rockville campus. For the time being, the Takoma Park chapter of this club has been disbanded due to lack of membership, although the club hopes to make a return next semester.

To begin their meeting for the month of October, Stephanie Will, the club’s adviser, leads the group through a 10-minute mindfulness activity. The club members sit quietly, focusing on their breathing. An audio track cues them to relax, to notice when their mind wanders and to notice what it wanders to.

Will explains that the exercise helps bring you back to the present and let worries from school and studies take off for a bit. In a world where students may never stop thinking and stressing about school or work or other duties, a mindfulness exercise offers a chance for a reprieve and to reset.

MyTrinh Tran, the club president, is a mental health major. She mentions that one of her favorite techniques for self-care is positive affirmations.  After the exercise, she talks to the club about volunteer opportunities and other events the club has coming up for the year.

The next event will be the Mental Health Fair on the Takoma Park campus, held on Nov. 14 at 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There are opportunities for Takoma Park students to volunteer at the fair, as well as for attendees to find volunteer opportunities. The fair will also have free t-shirts and snacks.

The club’s main event is putting on the Mental Health Symposium in the spring semester each year. Although the date and topic have not yet been confirmed for this year, the club encourages you to look out for the announcement.

Although all of the classes for the Mental Health program are held at the Takoma Park campus, Tran hopes to improve enrollment in the program overall, since there are not many students taking it right now.

The club collaborates closely with the new Student Health and Wellness (SHaW) Center for Success to raise awareness of not only mental health issues but the Mental Health A.A.S. program offered here at the college.

Will leads the new SHaWCenter, which is based out of the office of Dr. Monica Brown, the senior vice president for Student Affairs. The objective of the new center, which just had its kickoff on Oct. 17, is to support the non-academic needs of students.”What leads students to drop out is usually not how smart they are,” Will said. She said that lack of attention to the mental and emotional stresses on students is one of the leading causes of dropping out of school, and that is what the SHaW Center aims to help alleviate.

Some of the campaigns that the SHaW Center have already put on this semester include Mindfulness Mondays, held every Monday from 11:30 a.m to 12:30 p.m. and the “Mental Health Is Health” posters put up around campus. The center also hosts the Mobile Markets held multiple times a semester on all campuses and hosts a Brain Break event once per semester on each campus.
The Center can be found on social media on Twitter and on Instagram. Follow them for announcements on wellness-related topics and events for MC students.
The Mental Health club holds meetings the fourth Monday of each month on the Rockville campus from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, contact the club at their email, [email protected].