Wellness Week Spring 2019: A Focus On Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Health

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Self-defense Class during the Wellness Week Spring 2019

Wellness Week Spring 2019

JCU hosted the biannual Health and Wellness Week, a series of events that focused on stress management, sex education, mental health, mindfulness, and spiritual wellbeing on February 25 – March 1. These events were sponsored by the Health and Wellbeing Office, the Dean of Students Office, and the Student Activities Board.

The week kicked off with an event dedicated to stress management, “Stress Less” presented by Phil Georgiou, director of MondoEquilibrio, is a toll-free 24/7 English-speaking service for JCU students. Their qualified specialists can help with culture shock, loneliness, depression, anxiety, trauma and more. Georgiou started by asking the students what they thought stress is, what is stressful for them, and how they react to stress. Perceptions of stress vary depending on culture and environment. Contrary to popular belief, Georgiou explained, anxiety is not a cause of stress, it comes before it, and should be seen as a red flag. We have three possible reactions to stressful situations: fight, flight, or freeze. He showed students some exercises and gave tips on how to handle stress (for example, count to 12, breathe, stay hydrated, flex muscles).

The Health and Wellbeing Office offered a “mindful meditation and compassion” class, and a Sex Education talk given by JCU’s on-call Doctor Andrea Guerriero, founder of MedInAction. Guerriero gave a presentation about safe sex, STDs and getting tested. JCU conducted a poll prior to the event and results showed that only 21% of students knew where to get tested in Rome. Guerriero suggested the Salvator Mundi hospital, which has English-speaking staff and accepts most health insurance. Guerriero was joined in his presentation by student leaders representing two clubs, Women’s Leadership Initiative and Queer Alliance. They spoke about reproductive health and safe queer sex, respectively.

The event “How Can I Help? Mental Health First Aid” was led by three of JCU’s counselors, Prof. Nicola Petrocchi, Catherine Rossi, and Carolina Meucci. Despite the fact that one in four college students is diagnosed with mental health issues, 40% never seek help. People in need should always be treated by professionals, not just assisted by loving and supportive friends. JCU on-campus therapists are always available to schedule free and confidential meetings. ([email protected])

The Health and Wellbeing Office organized a yoga class and two mindfulness sessions followed by a self-defense workshop led by JCU staff members and martial arts experts Paolo Livorati and Settimio Menasci. Students learned the basics of self-defense by observing and practicing techniques.

The last day of Wellness Week was dedicated to Spiritual Wellness. In collaboration with the Cultural Programs Coordinator and the Office of Religious Life, a group of students went on a trip to the Great Mosque of Rome and attended a meditation session in Villa Ada in the north of Rome. Students were accompanied by Director of Community Service, Religious Life and Multiculturalism, Julia del Papa, and the JCU Chaplain Father Riccardo Lufrani. The guided tour of the Mosque was organized by the Italian Islamic Cultural Centre.

“It’s important for all students to feel safe and welcome within the university, and I hope that the Wellness Week was informative to communicate the resources available to students,” said Dean of Students Valentina Di Blasi.