SPC Shares Messages of Hope Through New Initiative Resiliency Rising

January 25, 2021

St. Philip’s College recently announced the launch of a new initiative titled, Resiliency Rising, a series of videos that feature stories from SPC faculty, staff and students. The goal for the video series is to share stories of hope that speak openly about mental health while educating and empowering the community. The most recent episode, released on January 22, 2021, featured Director of Student Success Liz Castillo, who spoke on the importance of mental and physical health. 

“I am very grateful to share my story, I hope that it is a step towards fighting the stigma of mental illness. It has been a long journey to get to where I am today. I hope this makes it just a little bit easier for someone to share their story or to reach out for help,” said Castillo. 

The initiative was fueled by the SPC Resiliency Study which evolved from students’ research conducted in Spring 2017 in a Composition II course. Six students believed that trauma was a significant challenge to students’ success, which led to the completion of a non-scientific study collecting Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) scores from SPC students on anonymous index cards. One of the cards shared a message rather than a number: I need help. In response to that call for help, their teacher and the College’s counselor designed a longitudinal study that began in Fall 2017 that included over 600 student volunteer participants, many of whose stories will be featured in upcoming Resiliency Rising episodes.

The Fall 2017 study focused on first-time-in-college students (those who have just graduated from high school or are taking college classes for the first time) who were enrolled in EDUC 1300 or SDEV 0370 during the Fall 2017, Spring 2018, or Fall 2018 semesters. The study found that most students (72% of participants) had experienced at least one category of toxic stress and a high percentage of students reported adversity in areas of divorce/separation of parents, emotional neglect and emotional abuse - view full study results here. Both studies sought to identify ways that the College could support and improve student success services and resources. 

The SPC Resiliency Study Team hopes that the stories and experiences shared through the series of videos will work towards breaking the stigma of mental health and provide a basis for mental health awareness.

“Resiliency is important because life is always full of challenges and it is important to identify the growth and/or lessons learned when overcoming these challenges. Humans live our lives through stories, we learn from stories, our memories are stories, stories are powerful learning tools to learn just about everything in our environment,” said Eitandria Tello, Resiliency Study Team Member and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). 

Each month for the remainder of 2021 a new episode will be published via YouTube, social media and the Resiliency Rising webpage. To learn more about Resiliency Rising, click here.

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