VC students, employees participate in Health & Wellness Series

Melanie Gerdes

College is usually a rewarding time for students, but it can also be stressful. As students focus on accomplishing their educational goals, they also have to work to ensure their own physical and mental wellbeing.

That’s why Victoria College partnered with Mid-Coast Family Services during the spring semester to host a seven-part virtual Student Health & Wellness Series giving students and employees opportunities to interact with prevention specialists on a variety of topics ranging from drug abuse to time management.

Melanie Gerdes, a licensed professional counselor with Victoria College, and VC Vice President of Student Services Edrel Stoneham worked with Mid-Coast Family Services Lead Prevention Specialist Katie Folmar to put the series together.

“We wanted to get a lot of resources and information to students as well as employees to help support them as they may be dealing with many stressors,” Gerdes said. “The main focus is for students, but we wanted to make it known to employees because anybody can benefit from the information.”

The virtual series was offered live each Tuesday from Feb. 25 to April 15. Recorded versions of each discussion can be viewed on Victoria College’s YouTube page.

The series, which averaged over 20 participants per session, kicked off with “What’s In Your Cup? – Alcohol 101” and ended with “Crossfaded: The Dangers of Marijuana and Other Drugs.” There were also sessions addressing tobacco and vaping, mental health, time management, healthy relationships and prescription drugs.

Victoria College student Theresa Sommers, 34, was a frequent participant during the series.

“I learned so much about the dangers of alcohol, ways to diffuse violence between partners and how to spot potential sexual assaults and ways to intervene,” Sommers said. “I also learned that Victoria College offers a ton of supports services. I know that I am not alone in my scholastic journey at VC, and I am cared for and encouraged in all things.”

Gerdes said Victoria College plans to offer similar virtual services in the future.

“I am excited to continue to partner with different departments from Mid-Coast Family Services to provide valuable information to students and employees,” Gerdes said. “It is helpful to be aware of services like these before something happens so people can know where to go if they find that they need to utilize them.”