College is a stressful time, and students often report feeling overwhelmed. Many students may experience times of increased anxiety and low mood. Students who suffer from serious symptoms of anxiety and depression are encouraged to seek treatment. Other students who do not have serious symptoms but might be showing early signs of depression may benefit from additional support to reinforce their mental wellness.
Thanks to a generous grant to the College from the Huiying Memorial Foundation, CY He '18 Vice President, and in collaboration with the Office of the Dean of Students, a research team from the Wellesley Centers for Women has designed an innovative program to serve these students and is currently working to promote the program on campus.
Willow (formerly known as Ministering to the Blue) is a program to promote healthy coping strategies and wellness in Wellesley College students. The research team, with meaningful involvement from Wellesley students, faculty, and staff, designed and tested this online intervention program specifically for Wellesley College students at risk for depression, based on the latest depression prevention research. The program is an adaptation of the CATCH-IT (Competent Adulthood Transition with Cognitive-behavioral Humanistic and Interpersonal Training) depression prevention intervention developed over the past 15 years.
Willow was rolled out at Wellesley College in November 2021, and students can learn more online or email the team directly. The research team hears daily from students who are interested in accessing Willow, and initial feedback has been very positive. The next two years will be spent improving the intervention and expanding its impact, including the development of an anxiety module as well as content that addresses COVID-related stress, ways to manage loneliness and loss, and strategies for navigating the disruptions associated with this challenging period of time.
Tracy R.G. Gladstone, Ph.D., a senior scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Women, leads the Willow research team. Dr. Gladstone was the inaugural director of the Robert S. and Grace W. Stone Primary Prevention Initiatives at WCW and has an extensive background in studying, developing, and evaluating depression prevention programs.
To learn more or to receive notifications about this project directly, please visit our webpage at wcwonline.org/willow or email willow@wellesley[dot]edu.
If you have concerns that you might be depressed, we encourage you to contact the Stone Center Counseling Service.