The series, called Wisdom for Wellness, presents two events in the upcoming week. “The Anonymous People” event will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 19. ThinkFirst Missouri will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20. Both presentations will be in the Library Auditorium.
Jennifer Burton, in the office of Faith, Counseling and Health services, began the Wisdom for Wellness Series.
During the first event, the Missouri Recovery Network will present a feature documentary titled “The Anonymous People.” The documentary is about the 23 million Americans living in long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. A three-person panel, including two panel members who are in recovery from drug/alcohol addiction, will be available for questions after the movie.
“Addiction is very prevalent in society, not only with alcohol and illegal drugs, but also with prescription medication,” said Burton. “Many times what seems as harmless ‘partying’ at a young age, can result in problems in the future. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are great organizations that have helped many people, but some have questioned if all this anonymity is addressing issues to reduce stigma and encouraging people to seek out the help they need.”
Health Services and Delta Gamma are teaming up to bring the second group, ThinkFirst Missouri, to campus.
“We have the tendency to think ‘it will never happen to me,’” Burton said. “ThinkFirst presenters are people who are living life after a traumatic brain or spinal injury and will speak about what it means to live with trauma that is permanent. Their injuries were caused by situations such as unsafe driving, bad choices, alcohol/drug use, and inattention behind the wheel.”
The office of Faith, Counseling and Health Services has always provided programming to promote wellness and awareness of health-related issues, but the Wisdom for Wellness Series and programming began this semester.
“The Wisdom for Wellness series has a specific focus of increasing health literacy of our student population. This out-of-classroom education will serve them well in navigating complex health care systems and increase awareness and students’ ability to be proactive about their health,” Burton said.
“We strive to make all events interesting, informative and presented by knowledgeable professionals. According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), only 12 percent of the population has a proficient health literacy level. This tells me we have a lot of work to do.”
For Burton, the Wisdom for Wellness series is a great start to addressing the stigma.
“It is a program designed to increase health literacy, as well as respond to a recent questionnaire in which students indicated they would enjoy having more events regarding health topics. This series will include programming on physical, mental and emotional wellness.”
Burton added, “My goal is to educate students on self-care, articulating their health concerns, describing their symptoms accurately, asking key questions and understanding spoken medical advice and treatment plans.”
These are not the first or last events for the Wellness Series. WWU counselor Rebecca Seitz and counseling intern Kathryn Nickrent presented “The Well Student – How’s Your Juggling Act” Oct. 30 to address finding lifestyle balance, including strategies beyond sleep, eating right and exercise.
“Plans are being made to bring a physician to campus to speak on lifestyle/risk modifications as a plan for long-term health,” Burton said. “Health literacy is a very broad topic, which opens the door for many possible events and educational opportunities.”