One in three first-year students experience mental health challenges; those that do are twice as likely not to graduate. Furthermore, students from underrepresented ethnic and racial groups, many of whom are first-generation college students, are less likely to seek support. Presenters will review research on college students’ mental health and its implications for student success. They will then explore the distinctive college adjustment challenges experienced by first-generation students as well as systemic barriers to effectively supporting first-generation students’ mental health. Presenters will make a case for delivering a proactive mental and emotional wellness curriculum rooted in the fields of positive psychology, mindfulness, and self-compassion and how students can apply these principles during their college experience. Presenters will review a case study on how California State University, Dominguez Hills successfully implemented a proactive mental and emotional wellness curriculum to support first-generation students' mental health. The session will close with experiential exercises and a group discussion about ways in which participants may seek to support first-generation college students' mental health proactively.
- understand distinctive college adjustment challenges experienced by first-generation students;
- identify systemic barriers to mental health support for first-generation students; and
- practice techniques for proactively supporting first-generation student mental health from the evidence-based fields of positive psychology, mindfulness, and self-compassion.