This Valentine's Day, Be Kind to Your Mind

drawing of brain with be kind to your mind written inside

Written by Susan Helmick, Graduate Assistant for the Graduate College  

Taking care of one's mental health is a big deal, especially when you're knee-deep in the challenges of grad school. Graduate students juggle a lot. Whether it's the constant academic grind, diving into research or chasing career goals, there's no question it's a demanding journey. That's why it's so important to shine a light on mental health, offer support, and encourage open dialogue.

To acknowledge this, the University of Cincinnati's Graduate College is holding the first-ever Graduate Student Mental Health Summit on Valentine's Day, February 14th. This summit is all about being proactive and tackling the mental health worries graduate students often face. In a recent chat with Virginia Dennis, program manager of student services for the Graduate College, we dug into what this summit aims to achieve and why it matters.

Q: Can you provide an overview of the aims and goals of the Graduate Student Mental Health Summit?

A: The goal of the summit is to foster awareness, provide support, reduce stigma, and promote open dialogue surrounding the unique mental health challenges faced by graduate students and postdocs. Attendees will increase their knowledge of mental health concerns and identify strategies to better manage these. 

Q: What can attendees expect from the professional speakers and panel discussions during the summit?

A: Attendees can expect to gain knowledge and skills in various areas of personal and professional development. They can potentially attend four different one-hour breakout sessions, including suicide prevention training, interactive sessions with mental health professionals, and student panels discussing unique challenges.

Q: How does the credit hour opportunity work for graduate students attending the summit or taking part in the UC Awareness, Screening, Support, and Intervention Skills Training for Students (ASSISTS)?

A: Full-time students can register for a free graduate credit hour by attending the full-day summit, participating in Mental Health First Aid training, and writing a reflection paper. This opportunity, valued at $170, provides students with valuable training and certification. 

Q: What is the significance of offering this credit option?

A: Students can receive additional valuable training and certification, earning one credit hour towards their degree with a minimal time investment. Students who have questions about this option can email Dr. Michael Brubaker.

Q: How has the summit been designed to cater to graduate students from various disciplines and experience levels?

A: Sessions cover a variety of topics, catering to different experience levels. Students can choose from beginner, intermediate, and advanced tracks, ensuring relevance for all, regardless of their field of study. 

Q: In what ways does the summit aim to address the unique mental health challenges faced by graduate students, and what resources will be available for ongoing support after the event?

A: The summit brings together professional presenters and student panels to address the unique challenges of graduate school. Representatives from mental health and wellness organizations will be available during the resource fair, offering ongoing support.

Q: How does the summit contribute to fostering a supportive and understanding community on mental health within the university?

A: The summit helps normalize mental health discussions, inspiring more people to recommend and seek help. It creates awareness and understanding, fostering an inclusive and supportive culture within the university. 


The Graduate Student Mental Health Summit offers a unique opportunity for University of Cincinnati graduate students to prioritize their mental well-being, connect with fellow students, and build a supportive community. While it's open to all UC graduate students and postdocs, just remember to pre-register to secure your spot before the February 11 deadline. Take a step toward nurturing your mental well-being and join us this Valentine's Day from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Tangeman University Center, 4th floor. The Graduate College cares about your health, and we're here to support you!  

Questions about the summit?   Please email