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Coming Soon: WellBeing Coaches at Hinton James Residence Hall

September 8, 2023

By Sophia Raspanti

College can bring the most exciting times in your life but can present major challenges as well. With the never-ending flow of assignments, midterms, finals, and more, college can become more stressful and overwhelming than exciting. Seeking advice, counseling, and guidance may also be a source of stress in your life, with time restraints, limited provider options, and negative stigmas. This year, the School of Social Work and Carolina Housing are partnering to provide WellBeing coaches to the student residents of Hinton James, an opportunity that provides a welcoming, cost-free space for students to have one-on-one discussions about challenges that interfere with college enjoyment, comfort, and satisfaction.

That Sounds Great, But What is a WellBeing Coach?

Our WellBeing coaches are two masters-level students from the School of Social Work, Shana Sobhani and Devon Pelto, who are trained to offer nonjudgmental wellness care, Mental Health First Aid, and more. The WellBeing Coaches receive continuous training throughout their service, and are here to offer students a kind, listening ear, as well as creating a goal-oriented plan to resolve your concerns. Services will be offered only to residents of Hinton James, and if you’re interested, talk to your RA to get a referral. Appointments are offered both in-person and over Zoom.

 Our WellBeing coaches are trained for a variety of concerns, including time & stress management, sleep, motivation, confidence, relationship building, health and self-care, and emotional wellness. During a coaching session, which may range from 30 minutes to an hour, you will create an alliance of support with your coach, identify priority concerns you’d like to resolve, receive referrals, and create and implement a personal behavior change plan. Think of this as a “personal trainer”: we want you to succeed! The best part is that it’s cost-free and easily accessible!

Why are WellBeing Coaches Important?

Mental health is just as important as physical health and is becoming increasingly important in society today. However, negative stigmas surrounding mental health can prevent students from seeking care. At its worst, stigma can result in prejudice and discrimination, which is incredibly damaging to students that want and need to seek support. Negative comments, stereotypes, and lack of compassion surrounding mental health are unfortunately impacting individuals seeking counseling, coaching, and therapy, which leads to reluctance to seek support, self-isolation, and even increased risk of physical illness.

(Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

What Can You Do to Stop the Stigma Surrounding Mental Health?

  • Seek The Support You Need

Advocating for yourself and your mental health is one of the most powerful ways to break negative stigma and find the support you need. Identifying a concern and seeking help and support is incredibly mature, wise, and beneficial. Avoid self-isolation, as this may exacerbate your concerns. The Carolina Community is here to help you become not only the best student, but the happiest and brightest version of yourself!

  • Talk Openly About Mental Health

Walk the walk, talk the talk! Mental health is an increasingly important topic in our society, and continuing the conversation only increases visibility of resources, but helps normalize receiving care. Starting a conversation about mental health and care with your peers, family, and community can help neutralize negative stigmas. Answer questions and concerns with kindness and compassion and stick to the facts! Remember that mental health is just as important as physical health and asking for help is a sign of empowerment and strength.

  • Educate Yourself, Your Peers, and Community

Stigmas and stereotypes thrive on misinformation. Unfortunately, in the case of mental health care, misinformation is plentiful, but you can help change the conversation! Educate yourself, your peers, and the community about the importance of caring for your mental health. Online resources are abundant and can be shared easily. Discuss the use of appropriate and compassionate language, the negative impacts of adhering to common misconceptions and stereotypes, and the benefits of seeking support.

  • Show Compassion and Spread Empowerment over Shame

Seeking support for your mental well-being is incredibly empowering. There is absolutely no shame in asking for help when you feel like it will benefit you and your comfort, enjoyment, and satisfaction of life. Your concerns are simply that: concerns; they do not represent who you are as an individual. Seeking support and guidance from professionals and from your community is increasingly important in a stressful world like college, and you’re all the better for identifying and addressing your concerns.

  • Stand for Equality Between Physical and Mental Health Wellness

Mental and physical wellness are equally important. In fact, poor mental health can increase your risk for physical illnesses, such chronic stress and cardiovascular disease. Start a conversation about equality between physical and mental health, its importance, and the variety of barriers you and other members of your community might experience when seeking care for mental health.

If you'd like to learn more about our WellBeing Coaches, listen to our Carolina Housing podcast below!

Carolina Housing updates policies and protocols regularly. Information found within this blog may not reflect our current standards and procedures. If you have any questions, please contact Carolina Housing at for the most up to date information.

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