Words of Wellness: Your mental health matters

Editor’s Note: Ted Thorndike, M.A., AAP, is a clinical counselor at the JSC Wellness Center.

This being the first article of an ongoing section of Words of Wellness, I want to take the opportunity to provide students with campus and local resources related to mental health and substance abuse support. First off, I want to congratulate incoming first year and returning students for their dedication to higher education and personal development. Attending college and attaining a degree is a great honor and privilege. It is an opportunity not everyone has the ability to pursue and my goal is to provide students the necessary wellness resources to thrive.

There is a significant correlation between mental health and academic success rates. According to a 2015 survey conducted by The American College Health Association, students experiencing psychological distress such as anxiety or depression suffered from decreased GPA, increased test anxiety, difficulties concentrating, and poor time management skills. Alternatively, out of the students in the study who received treatment for depression, 31 percent reported increased satisfaction with their academic work. Over a longitudinal study the retention rate is 85 percent for students receiving psychological services compared to 74 percent for the general student body.

What’s the take away? Counseling and a focus on your mental health can be an integral part to your overall wellness routine. Improved academic performance is a small part of the positive outcome, which can include more restful sleep, healthy eating habits, improved relationships and decreased stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms. I would encourage all students to come visit me and the entire Wellness Center staff if you feel you may benefit from our services. Whether this is your first time in counseling or it’s something you have experience with, we encourage anyone to stop by.

We are located in the basement of Stearns and can be reached at (802) 635-1265. Also check out our Facebook page, which frequently updates events, groups and resource information. We provide a variety of services including daily walk-in hours, weekly counseling, light therapy, therapy dog visits, open access to a relaxation room and a variety of substance abuse and general support groups.

I would also like to take this opportunity to talk about a new position I will be taking on this year at JSC. Along with my work as a Clinical Counselor, I will also be the Substance Abuse Outreach and Education Specialist on campus. My goal is to improve education, awareness and support around the topic of substance abuse, not only to students but to staff and faculty as well. Keep your eyes peeled for various events, TED talks, speaker forums and support groups that will be happening around campus all school year. It is not my goal to demonize and shame students who engage in substance use, but rather to have conversations, educate, support and provide resource information if they feel it may be something they want to address. Substance abuse can not only impact the academic performance of students but have significant mental, emotional, physical and spiritual consequences.

Below, I am providing a variety of mental health and substance abuse resources throughout Lamoille County. I encourage all of you to access the amazing supports JSC has in place for its students but I feel it is important to have a rolodex of information to stay safe, healthy and happy:


Behavioral Health and Wellness — Morrisville
(802) 888-8320
-Provides mental health and substance abuse counseling, psychiatric assessments and a variety of support groups


Recovery Center — Morrisville
(802) 851-8120 www.ncvrc.com
-Provides a safe and supportive environment for individuals struggling with substance abuse. Center provides a variety of events, support groups and recovery coaches.


Lamoille County Mental Health — Morrisville
(802) 888-5026 (8am-4pm)
(802) 888-8888 (Nights and Weekends)
-General mental health services and 24-hour crisis line


Treatment Associates — Morrisville
(802) 888-0079
-Medication Assisted Treatment for opioid dependency and general substance abuse support and treatment


Prescription Pill Drop Off Locations
-Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department in Hyde Park
-Morrisville Police Department
-Hardwick Police Department


I will be providing more resources as this column continues throughout the school year but it’s a solid foundation to get us started. Like they say in G.I. Joe, “Knowing is half the battle.” If you have any more questions regarding local mental health and substance abuse resources, I encourage you to contact the Wellness Center or Dean of Students Office.

As the school year kicks off, maybe you’re beginning to struggle with a challenging academic load, perhaps starting an athletic season or embarking on college for the first time. College has the potential to be an extremely stressful time and I encourage all of you to dedicate part of your life to your mental health. This may not necessarily mean you seek out counseling, per se, but plan out a 20-minute block to mediate, take a walk in the woods, journal, listen to music, check in with residence life staff, draw, go to the gym, watch a movie . . . You get the point! Find out what works for you and, like a good friend of mine told me once, “If it works, work it!” Here’s to a happy, healthy and successful 2017-2018 school year! Go Badgers!