CogWell@Penn: Active Listening for Active Change
CogWell@Penn is a peer support network for Penn students that is committed to promoting open and empathic dialogue on campus and fighting the stigma surrounding mental health struggles. CogWell enables students to connect and collaborate cross-campus with a network that spans from psychiatry in Penn Med to spirituality in the Chaplain’s Office. Each semester, CogWell provides an interactive training opportunity that prepares and empowers students to effectively support their peers in coping with the pressures of college life.
Training participants learn to identify mental health concerns and are given the skills to effectively and compassionately engage peers who they recognize as in need of support, and how to connect them with campus resources as appropriate. Discussion also includes personal reflection, stress management strategies, and the role of perspective and meaning assigned to challenges as important coping skills that promote well being.
Interested students can assume a leadership role and are supported by a mental health advisory consultant to provide mini-workshops to teach and practice active listening among their peers, thereby broadening the network of supportive intervention. Harnessing the power of listening to positively impact the campus climate, these on-demand, student-led workshops, offered at College Houses, clubs, sports teams, sororities, and fraternities, help advance a more connected community on campus.