How can YCP aid the mental health of students? One idea is a wellness hub

By Hayley Leitzinger

STUDENT mental health and wellness has been a growing concern across universities. YCP has a health and counseling center in place to help students with mental and physical health, but what are their plans for the future of student wellness?

At YCP, students have access to the counseling center in Codorus Hall and the Health Center in the lower level of the Student Union. In addition to these services, Dr. Rick Satterlee and Dr. Robyn Maitoza have been working on an wellness campaign to proactively help students with health. 

Satterlee is the Dean of Student Development and Campus Life at YCP. Satterlee is the first person to be involved in this role since it was deemed a deanship. Most of what he oversees is outside of the classroom.

In a recent interview with The Spartan, Satterlee said that he thinks the best way to help with student health is to treat it proactively. Satterlee said, “Student mental health is the top growing issue for students nationwide at universities, and this issue started before COVID.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 37.1% of students experienced poor mental health during the pandemic. In addition, during the 12 months before the survey, 44.2% experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness.

In addition, offered these statistics in a February 2023 story:

  • In 2022, over three-quarter of college students (77%) experienced moderate to serious psychological distress.
  • 35% of students were diagnosed with anxiety; 27% has depression
  • In 2021, 28% of students said they often feel isolated from each other.
  • College athletes, especially in women’s sports, experience heightened levels of negative mental health symptoms
  • Almost 9 in 10 students (89%) who face academic challenges say they affect their mental health

“To help students recover from the pandemic and improve mental health overall, Satterlee told members of The Spartan he thinks “clinical services are essential to treat student mental health, and we have to be proactive about it.” One of the ways he feels YCP is doing this is by instituting TimelyMD, a telehealth platform that students can access 24/7.

Satterlee said that “we have about one-third of our students enrolled in Timely.” They offer counseling and health services through virtual visits. So far, TimelyMD is only available to undergraduate students, but Satterlee said they are working on expanding this platform to all students. He said one of the big benefits of TimelyMD is that “students can access it from home,” adding he feels that this is one of the ways YCP can proactively help students. 

In addition to TimelyMD, Dr. Robyn Maitoza, associate professor of Human Services, last April collaborated with Satterlee to institute a Mental Health Awareness Day. This semester, they are doing a week-long event that will start on May 1 and run through May 5. One of the planned events will take place at 7 p.m. May 3 in the Weinstock lecture hall. Dr. Aditi Nerurkar, a physician and lecturer at Harvard Medical school will talk about “Building resilience in the Mind, Body, and Spirit.” This lecture is free and all students are welcome. 

Besides TimelyMD and mental Health Awareness week, Satterlee and Maitoza are in the planning stages of creating a wellness hub on campus. This idea came from Satterlee, who plans to use Butler University’s wellness hub as their model. Butler, a private university in Indianapolis, Indiana, features a wellness hub that includes counseling services, a gym, hot tub, sauna, free weight areas, and a student lounge. Supplementing that is an Institute for Well-being.

Maitoza said that “a group of faculty along with Satterlee and other offices on campus are now coordinating efforts to create a hub.” She was not specific about what the campus exactly wants to include in the wellness hub, but they are considering “a relaxation room and also offering other wellness activities and programs to students, staff and faculty.” She also said that they are only in the planning stages of this program, but they are hoping to start offering some kind of initial programming during the 2023-24 academic year.

Here are links on the York College website to Health Services, Counseling Services, Spiritual Life, Athletics and Recreation, and Student Diversity and Inclusion.

Hayley Leitzinger is a freshman at YCP. Her major is undeclared, but she wants to go into occupational therapy, and is tailoring her classes this semester towards that goal.

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