Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: Agency to Help Others and Ourselves
October 8, 2021
We join the nation in raising awareness of mental illness during Mental Illness Awareness Week, which ends this Sunday on World Mental Health Day. This year’s theme, Together for Mental Health, is relevant as we support each other and our students through myriad challenges and experiences.
Yesterday, the college’s Employee Wellbeing Support Group held another session, providing a safe space for employees to connect with colleagues, share their experiences, and focus on self-care. This series is sponsored by the WCC Departments of Mental Health & Counseling Services (DMHCS) and Human Resources in partnership with NY Project Hope to offer virtual support groups for WCC employees throughout the fall 2021 semester. The next session is Thursday, October 21. Please refer students to similar services available to them through the Coping: Mental Health Support Group which meets virtually each Thursday at 6:00 p.m. #WCCWellBeing
Next Monday, the DMHCS and Hudson Valley Paws for a Cause will have certified therapy dogs on campus from 12:45 to 2 p.m. on the Student Center Lawn (STC Events Room for rain location). Watch your email for information. These are just some of the resources available to help all of us focus on behaviors to help us endure and persist during challenging times. #WCCBetterTogether.
I am encouraged by decreasing COVID-19 transmission rates, not only at the college but throughout Westchester County, thanks to the diligence of our community in following CDC and Westchester County Department of Health guidelines. There is more work ahead and, we must all remain diligent as residents continue to get vaccinated and follow healthy practices such as wearing masks in public spaces. Thank you for all you are doing to keep our college and community safe. #WCCSafe
Alongside this vigilance, we work with grace and dedication to fulfill our mission in so many ways. For example,
- We are collaborating across many departments and offices to support student success, persistence, and completion through the American Recovery Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). #WCCResources
- We celebrate the announcement by SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras this week to expand the Education Opportunity Program with an increase of $6.4 million from the NYS Legislature. We are deeply appreciative of Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and Senator Shelly Mayer, and others who advocate for Westchester’s EOP programs, and of course, a huge thanks to Prof. Gwen Roundtree Evans and our EOP team for all they do to support these students. #WCCOpportunity
I appreciate how each of you remain steadfast in creating more opportunity for in-person engagement, especially as selfcare, family care, and care of friends and neighbors demands so much. Please find opportunities to take a breather, meaningfully connect with others, and doing things that bring you joy to refresh yourselves while advancing our student success mission at Westchester Community College. #WCCCare
In closing, I share a link to a TED Talk I recently listened to. Knut Ivar Bjørlykhaug discusses How can we turn environmental heartache into action? His grief is related to environmental destruction, but the concepts seem applicable to any destructive situations we experience that contribute to heartache and the agency we have to soothe our hearts even as we face such circumstances. (Listen to 7:00-8:55)
Dr. Belinda S. Miles