CWU News

CWU Libraries To Host Coping With Trauma Series This Winter

Visualization of dissociation in black and white

COVID-19 has taken a toll on the world's overall mental health

The nation’s mental health crisis among children, adolescents, and young adults is real and widespread because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the U.S. Surgeon General. Hoping to shed more light on these issues, Central Washington University will host a series of “Community Resilience in Times of Change” events this quarter, starting with a panel discussion January 19 at the Hal Holmes Community Center in Ellensburg.

The series will focus on exploring the effects that COVID-19 has had on our communities and our collective mental health, as well as ways to mitigate them and strengthen the community as a whole.

CWU Dean of Libraries Rebecca Lubas says the event series will seek to address the immense additional stress COVID-19 has put students under, as well as ways to heal traumas.

“It’s very important because when you’re a student, you’re dealing with all the things life throws at you, as you normally would,” Lubas said. “When you have a traumatic event with as much global impact as COVID, that just makes dealing with a complicated student schedule, juggling family, work, and studies that much harder.”

The content of the events has been developed in cooperation with the community, along with local health care officials and authors, to ensure relevancy for all interested parties.

The first installment will be a community panel discussion titled “Mental Health and Growth Mindset,” held at the Hal Holmes Community Center in the Ellensburg Public Library on January 19 at 6 p.m. It will feature local practitioners Kimberly Finger, Jackie Moore, and Auren O’Connell, with CWU School Psychology graduate student Juan Serrano moderating.

The second event will be a book discussion about “The Body Keeps the Score” by Dr. Bessel van Der Kolk, one of the world’s leading experts on trauma. The book focuses on the physical ramifications of trauma in the brain as well as the body, and the myriad ways in which one can work toward healing these invisible wounds. The discussion will be held February 23 at 4 p.m. in Brooks Library room 288.

The final winter quarter event will center more directly around the processing of traumatic events, and will feature members of the Active Minds student club, plus CWU staff from the Mental Health Counseling Program and Wellness Center. It will be held March 2 at noon in the Brooks Library room 288.

These events are made possible in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. More information about the series can be found on the CWU Libraries event calendar.

Media contact: Rune Torgersen, Department of Public Affairs,

Revision 2/28/22--Changed March 2 event location to Brooks Library room 288.