November 24, 2009

The Nation’s Third Oldest College Newspaper

Volume 80, Issue 7

A lesson on health and wellness

Assistant Director of Counseling Services Dr. Bernadette Peters and Licensed Mental Health Counselor Monica Romeo bring mental health awareness to NU students with their weekly WNIA radio show titled "Shrink Rap."

The show covers a range of mental health and wellness topics. Previous shows have dealt with issues including domestic violence, sexual assault, depression, homesickness, relationships and diversity to name a few. Peters says, "It is very important to have a show like this. It is a form of outreach to students. They can benefit from the tips and strategies that we talk about."

"Shrink Rap" first aired in early April in the spring of 2009. Peters knew of other schools doing radio shows to promote mental health and wellness, and she thought it would be a great idea to bring to Niagara. After consulting with colleague Romeo about doing the show together, both women met with Jessica Garfinkel, the programming manager of WNIA Radio. The final step was coming up with a catchy name, and "Shrink Rap" was what they settled on. Four shows were aired during the spring semester, and today a total of 11 shows have been recorded.

Guests are regularly featured on the show. Most recently, on Nov. 16, Director of Multicultural and International Student Affairs David Blackburn joined the women to speak about diversity. Other guests and topics have included Director of Health Services Lori Soos to speak about H1N1 facts, rumors, and concerns', the director of Family and Children Services of Niagara covering domestic violence', the Director of Campus Safety dealing with domestic violence and sexual assault', and students guests, which included a freshman and a junior, to speak about homesickness.

According to Peters, the most popular show was "Confessions of a Buffalo Bartender," which centered around drunk driving, date rape drugs and sexual assault. She says, "We try to have guests as often as we can. Only about three or four shows have been without one. Most of the time people seem very excited to be a guest on our show."

Call-ins from listeners are also accepted. There have only been about four calls received throughout the history of the show, and two were from the Counseling Center's Office Coordinator Kathy Palazzo. "One of our goals is to increase the number of people calling in," says Peters.

Peters explained that after one of the shows, she received very positive feedback from a student saying how she was thankful for the show and it encouraged her to seek help. According to Peters, this semester has been busier than ever with students coming in for counseling. She also reported how this is not only true for Niagara's campus, but nationwide there has been an increase in people seeking help.

Peters points out how the counseling center is open to anyone. Students are allowed to schedule anywhere from one appointment to as many are needed, and all at no cost.

When asked to provide some helpful advice to students, Peters says, "Listen to our show! We give out so many different resources and phone numbers." Podcasts from previous shows are also available on the NU Web site. "Shrink Rap" airs every Monday from 2 to 3 p.m. on campus TV Channel 20 or online at http://wnia.niagara.edu.

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