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FACULTY/STAFF > DEPARTMENTS & OFFICES > STUDENT LIFE > COUNSELING CENTER > THRIVE PROGRAM
THRIVE Program

Why do we have THRIVE at RMU?
The Jed Foundation says it best on their Half of Us campaign webpage: 
"Mental health issues are a reality for millions of people across the country. Young people are especially at risk, with half of college students reporting that they have been stressed to a point where they couldn’t function during the past year. The impact of mental illness is so devastating that suicide is the third leading cause of death among all people ages 15-24. The good news is that nearly all mental health issues can be improved with proper treatment. When we decrease the stigma around mental health and encourage help-seeking, we can change and save lives."

At the RMU Counseling Center, we believe that student leaders play a critical role in reducing the stigma around mental health and in helping build a campus community where emotional wellness is a priority. 


Mission of the THRIVE Program: 
The THRIVE Program strives to provide campus outreach for mental health and wellness initiatives through peer educators, known as THRIVE Leaders. THRIVE Leaders are trained on mental health issues, suicide prevention, drugs and alcohol prevention, and sexual assault prevention, diversity, and common wellness concerns using a public health approach. They serve the campus community by “building a bridge” between the Counseling Center and students, primarily by developing and implementing outreach programs/events that will positively impact the campus community. When THRIVE Leaders become aware of individual students needing support, they provide referrals to appropriate resources and act as role models for self-care. THRIVE accomplishes this mission through education, outreach, and raising awareness on campus.

Goals of the THRIVE Program: 
  • Connect with peers to increase help seeking behaviors among the student population
  • Provide peer-to-peer education on mental health, stress reduction, and healthy decision-making
  • Eliminate stigma of mental health on campus
  • Sponsor wellness events to benefit the campus community
Roles of the THRIVE Leader: 
  • Serve as a liaison between the Counseling Center and students
  • Develop and implement outreach programs/events that will positively impact students 
  • Be aware of individual students needing support and provide them with referrals
  • Take care of themselves and be a good role model for other students 
Qualifications to Become a THRIVE Leader:
Program supervisors work closely with THRIVE Leaders over the course of their tenure to develop skills and knowledge to help them grow as campus leaders. However, it is critical that students already have a strong foundation in demonstrating the following qualities in order to become THRIVE Leaders:
  • Dependability: THRIVE Leaders are expected to be reliable and trustworthy. This means the ideal THRIVE Leader candidate should, by nature, be prompt, reliable, and able to hold sensitive information in confidentiality.
  • Adaptability: THRIVE leaders are expected to be able to adjust to change and show a willingness to be flexible in their approach to solving problems. This means the ideal THRIVE Leader candidate should generally be accepting of new situations, able to balance their personal responsibilities effectively, and comfortable with making decisions independently when needed. 
  • Initiative: THRIVE Leaders are expected to be creative and responsible. This means the ideal THRIVE Leader candidate should be excited to tackle challenges and come up with fresh ideas, comfortable with serving as a role model to other students in promoting a healthy campus community, and willing to find tasks to do when none are assigned.
  • Knowledge/Interest: THRIVE leaders are expected to have basic knowledge of critical mental health issues on college campuses and have a good understanding why it is they are interested in this opportunity. This means the ideal THRIVE Leader candidate should already have an interest in wellness and be able to articulate why they are choosing to apply for this leadership opportunity in particular. 
Applications are closed for the 2018-2019 academic year. Applications for the 2019-2020 academic year will be available at the start of the Spring 2019 Semester.


2018-2019 THRIVE Leaders (updated photos coming in August)

Alex Temple

Alex is a second-year Co-Director of THRIVE and has been a THRIVE Leader since the spring semester of his first year at Robert Morris University. He is a senior studying Sport Management, as well as Marketing. Alex joined THRIVE because he has always had a desire to help others. He understands that mental health is an issue all over the world and has witnessed people struggle with issues such as anxiety and depression that led to his desire to make a difference. Alex is also involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Italian Club. He practices self-care by paddle boarding, hiking, and playing with dogs.




Jessica Friss

Jess is a Co-Director of THRIVE, and this is her second year as a THRIVE Leader. She is a senior at Robert Morris University who is majoring in Environmental Science. Jess is interested in mental health outreach because she believes it is important for everyone to be able to talk about their well-being, and not feel ashamed or alone. She is involved in Student Alliance for Equality, Phi Sigma Pi (a gender inclusive honor fraternity), the Honors Student Advisory Council, and Strong Women Strong Girls. After college she hopes to be an Environmental Educator, and to continue to help her local community. Jess practices self-care by taking time at the end of every day to relax, and do something simple that she enjoys doing.




Douglas Cole Jr.

Douglas is a junior communications major at Robert Morris University and a returning THRIVE Leader. Douglas has been interested in mental health since he was a child, growing up with a special needs twin. He often wondered what other people felt about his brother or how he himself lived with that experience. After going through some things his senior year of high school and freshman year of college he realized he needed help and went to the counseling center on campus. He began to fix his own mental problems and feel as though he had to stand up and represent something greater than him. His key desire is to impact others and make others feel welcomed and normal while they all know they're unique. He also is an aspiring DJ, spinning at clubs like Diesel and art galleries like Boom Concepts. Douglas is also a poet who was published in 2017 through Robert Morris' RUNE literary magazine. 

Faith Ellingston

Faith is a sophomore at Robert Morris University majoring in Political Science with a Pre-Law Concentration. She has spent most of her life interested in mental health because several of her family members have a mental illness, and she personally has struggled with depression on and off for years. Her struggle has motivated her to want to help fellow students who may struggle with the same problems. As a person who knows what it's like to not be seen as a student with depression, she hopes to show people that even if people don't see it, it is there and it can get better. Faith hopes to inspire students and open a discussion on what people are facing, even if their struggles aren't visible. She is also involved in The Student Alliance for Equality on campus along with the American Marketing Association. Faith practices self-care by taking walks, reading, and hanging out with her friends.

Melanie Hall

Melanie is a sophomore at Robert Morris University studying psychology and public relations. She always knew that her purpose in life was to erase the stigma around mental health and to promote diversity and inclusion all over the world. Melanie’s goal is to make sure that all students feel welcome and represented at the counseling center and hopes that she can reach this goal through being a Thrive Leader. Melanie is also a Community Advisor, secretary of the National Council of Negro Women, and an UpNext mentee. She hopes that through erasing the stigma, students will be able to have open conversations about their mental health and will use the counseling center as a way to seek help.

Rebecca Held

Rebecca is a senior psychology major at Robert Morris University. She is interested in mental health outreach because she likes helping people and has seen how mental health issues have affected her friends and family. She believes that sometimes the best thing to do for a person who is struggling is to be a kind, open ear for them to talk to, with no judgement. As a Thrive leader she hopes to emphasize this and increase knowledge of other ways to help yourself and others who may be struggling. She spent this summer working at Camp Easter Seals, a summer camp for children and adults with disabilities. Once she graduates, Rebecca hopes to work for the Peace Corps or the AmeriCorps before getter her master’s degree in Art Therapy. She practices self-care by spending some time everyday doing things she enjoys, like hanging out with her friends, reading, knitting, or watching Parks and Recreation.

Sydney Holliday

Sydney is a junior business management major at Robert Morris University. She is also President of Student Alliance for Equality, Secretary of the Society for Human Resource Management, and Risk Management chair for Delta Zeta. Sydney joined thrive because she has always been an advocate for mental health after struggling with depression and anxiety herself for many years. She understands how important it is to not feel ashamed of your struggles and to always know that there is someone out there who cares for you and wants to help. Sydney practices self care through going on walks, listening to music, and using essential oils.

Taylor Trabucco

Taylor is entering her senior year at Robert Morris University, majoring in Biology with a minor in Psychology. Mental health awareness is something she has been extremely passionate about starting at a young age but especially in her college years. Last year she served as the President for the Active Minds chapter on RMU’s campus. Active Minds is a national organization that has a goal of breaking the stigma surrounding mental illness and to further educate every one of the importance of mental health. Taylor is excited to be a member of the THRIVE team this year to help make RMU’s campus a more educated, caring, and welcoming place. She strongly believes that everyone should strive to be kind to one another since we never know what someone else may be struggling with. Being a busy student, Taylor recognizes the importance of self-care. She practices self-care by surrounding herself with people that uplift her, taking time to relax after a long day, and of course playing with her pup.


For questions about the THRIVE Program, please email: Sam Beckas - beckas@rmu.edu

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