Fred M. Rogers Center
Latrobe, PA–The Fred Rogers Institute at Saint Vincent College recently welcomed its first Fellow in Mental Health and Wellbeing, neuropsychologist Dr. Rebecca Zill.
Through the generous support of the Citrone Foundation, Dr. Zill joined the Fred Rogers Institute in the spring and will spend three years addressing the needs of Saint Vincent College staff, faculty and students. Beginning this fall, Dr. Zill and the FRI staff are working to understand the challenges facing Saint Vincent College students and to develop a series of supports that will focus on equipping students with the necessary knowledge and skills to advocate for their own mental health as well as the wellbeing of their peers.
Grounded in the deep foundation of the teachings of Fred Rogers, the student-facing supports for mental health and wellbeing will be framed by what Fred identified as fundamentals of learning and growing—across all ages. These include a sense of self-worth, trust, the capacity to look and listen closely, the capacity for play, curiosity and solitude. These six elements are powerful ideas related to young people’s mental health and wellbeing, as well as their educational attainment.
The Fred Rogers Institute will also create and facilitate complimentary resources for staff and faculty to be the first line of support for students experiencing mental health and wellbeing concerns. The resources and support developed through these efforts will engage students, faculty and staff around the six necessities and will be grounded in the relationships between adults and young people, educational attainment and mental health and wellbeing.
In addition to these efforts across the Saint Vincent College Community, Dr. Zill and Dr. Dana Winters, the Executive Director of the Fred Rogers Institute, will be developing resources that specifically address the unique needs of student-athlete mental health and wellbeing. These efforts will start at Saint Vincent College and extent across the President’s Athletic Conference, through a summit in early 2023. The event, held at the Fred Rogers Center on Saint Vincent College’s campus, will welcome student-athletes, coaching staff and administrative faculty to share their own experiences or perspectives surrounding the current landscape of mental health and wellbeing across their respective campuses.
Intended as the first step toward the development of comprehensive support, the summit will also afford Fred Rogers Institute representatives a platform to discuss programmatic and student-level strengths, as well as potential areas for enhancement.