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Depression on college campuses: Fostering student success (Mar. 12-13)

University of Michigan Depression Center to host its 12th annual conference in Rackham Graduate School

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — While many college students define success as measured by their GPA, there are other outcomes which may be more important for long-term student well-being. Research shows that symptoms of depression predict retention and graduation rates, and it follows that mentally healthy students are better learners.

The University of Michigan Depression Center will host its 12th annual Depression on College Campuses Conference on March 12-13 in the Rackham Graduate School building, with an emphasis on research and strategies to foster student success in all areas of the college experience – emotional, physical, social, and academic. Clinicians, students, researchers, and U-M community members will come together to discuss how campuses can improve student mental health services and outcomes, to help students reach their full potential.

The conference is a multi-disciplinary forum for counselors, researchers, academic advisors, advocacy groups, and others from across the country to discuss the latest findings and practices related to the prevention of depression and its consequences during the high-stakes college years.

The two-day conference, which will be held at U-M’s Rackham Graduate School building, will offer in-depth workshops, concurrent sessions, and a panel discussion. In addition, this year’ conference will feature two keynote presentations:

The Science of Resilience: Implications for Prevention and Treatment of Depression in College Students by Steven M Southwick, MD, Glenn H. Greenberg Professor of Psychiatry, PTSD and Resilience, Yale University School of Medicine and Yale Child Study Center

On Purpose:  Lessons in Life and Health from the Frog, the Dung Beetle, and Julia by Victor J. Strecher, PhD, MPH, Professor and Director for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship, University of Michigan School of Public Health

In addition, two undergraduate students will receive the 2014 Student Mental Health Advocate Award during the conference luncheon on March 13. The award will be presented by Will Heininger, a 2011 graduate of the University of Michigan, where he played football for four years. Since first presenting the award at last year’s conference, Will has become a nationally-recognized voice for mental health advocacy, by sharing his personal story and encouraging others to seek help if they are struggling with depression.

The audience for the conference includes counselors, nurses, physicians, students, academic advisers, residence education staff, university leaders and anyone with an interest in college student mental health.

Registration is free for students from any campus, but an online registration form is still required. The registration fee for non-students is $150. (Members of the media covering the event may register at no cost.) A conference schedule and additional information can be found at:  www.depressioncenter.org/docc.

Established in 2001, the University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center (UMDC) is the first of its kind devoted entirely to bringing depression into the mainstream of medical research, translational care, education, and public policy. The Center is at the forefront in changing the paradigm of how depression and bipolar illnesses are understood and treated.

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