Event Overview

At VCU, we aspire to create a whole-person educational experience that emphasizes wellbeing as a core component of student success. Here at COBE, we believe that health and wellness should be at the center of the university experience, and a core component of each student’s experience.

COBE’s mission is to promote behavioral and emotional health in college communities through the integration of research with coursework, programming, and policy related to behavioral and emotional health.The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services envisions a life of possibilities for all Virginians.  By supporting individuals by promoting recovery, self-determination, and wellness in all aspects of life, we can create a stronger Commonwealth.

We believe that the promotion of wellbeing requires a dual approach of promoting mental health and flourishing, while treating substance use disorders and mental health challenges with compassionate, evidence based care. Clearly, addressing the mental health needs of our young people is critical to support their ability to succeed.

There is compelling evidence that substance use and mental illness is associated with a number of adverse consequences, to both the individual and the entire  community. However, we agree strongly with researchers who remind us that the promotion of mental health is not simply the absence of mental illness. Rather, the promotion of mental health must also encompass the study of emotional, psychological, and social well-being.  Accordingly, we believe that advancing student wellbeing must involve both addressing substance use challenges and promoting emotional health.

We have the ambitious goal of gathering a diverse audience that includes young people, parents, professionals and faculty to hear a variety of perspectives that represent everything from lived experience, to professional practice, and basic research.  While these are not often groups that gather under the same roof, the opiate epidemic and the dramatic rise in students accessing college counseling centers demands that each of us exit our silos and look for collaborative solutions for both preventing these challenges and treating them effectively when they occur.