A few months ago, I began investigating the health and wellbeing of undergraduates for a project here at the Milken Institute’s Center for Strategic Philanthropy (CSP). Cindy Citrone was struggling to help her children through the anxiety and pressure of school and adolescence. She soon realized that many of her friends also lacked the skills to teach their children emotional regulation and management. Last year, Cindy began dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) which she says changed her life dramatically and gave her the tools to help her family. But she was aware that emotional problems were preventing more and more young people from thriving  —  and driving many to self-harm.

Research shows that rates of anxiety, depression, and suicidality have skyrocketed in recent years among young people. As Cindy was a trustee at a university, we were trying to identify ways colleges and universities might address the needs of their students by taking a community health approach to wellbeing. That is to say, not just approaching student wellbeing individually but by creating a campus climate with policies and structures that support all students, faculty, and staff ...

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. It is also Self-Care Awareness Month. After months of research with CSP, Cindy decided to use her philanthropy to destigmatize mental illness further and increase access to services in her hometown of Pittsburgh. Moreover, she is committed to promoting innovative wellbeing practices for people of all ages.

As we prepare our children to start or return to school, we should take advantage of this opportunity to learn wellbeing together. By teaching them early, we can help our children build a toolkit of self-care practices that will last a lifetime and enable them to experience success in all forms.

Read the full article about practicing self care by Mali Locke at Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy.