Staunton Farm Foundation Grant to Allow Seton Hill to Implement Mental Health Program for Student-Athletes

A $25,000 grant from the Staunton Farm Foundation will enable Seton Hill University to implement The Zone Mobile App for student-athletes as part of the university’s focus on mental health and well-being. Seton Hill will be one of seven universities in the United States to use The Zone app to enhance wellness culture on campus and reduce the stigma around mental health concerns and seeking help when issues arise. 

“All of us at Seton Hill University are grateful for the Staunton Farm Foundation’s leadership philanthropy in advancing mental health and wellness in the Pittsburgh region,” said Seton Hill University President Mary C. Finger. “Seton Hill is proud to be a partner in the Foundation’s efforts to help reduce behavioral health issues among our student-athletes.”

“Students of college-age are at the peak age range for the onset of mental health concerns, and student-athletes are at a higher risk as they balance the academic, social, developmental and financial challenges of college with the additional pressures to perform on the field,” said Rosalie Carpenter, Vice President for Student Affairs and Athletics at Seton Hill. “With nearly 600 student-athletes on the Seton Hill University campus, we realize that these high achievers may keep up appearances when they are actually struggling - and these issues are only exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Zone App will help destigmatize seeking the mental health assistance our student-athletes need. We are grateful for the support of the Staunton Farm Foundation in making this necessary program possible for the Seton Hill community.”

Seton Hill has hired Hadara Katarski as Coordinator of Student-Athlete Well-Being at Seton Hill, a new part-time position. Katarski, an adjunct professor at Seton Hill in Sport Psychology and Sociology of Sport and a former Division I head cross country and track and field coach, will work with the student-athletes and coaches to implement The Zone App and manage the program.

“I look forward to working with Seton Hill’s student-athletes and coaches in order to provide appropriate resources and offer early intervention for those who are experiencing issues related to their mental health,” Katarski said. “The Staunton Farm Foundation funding is so important as we work to ensure our student-athletes realize their mental health is just as important as their physical health.”

"We are excited to continue our partnership with Seton Hill and help support the mental wellness of their student-athletes. Seton Hill has continued to be a leader in collegiate athletics with their innovation and commitment to the holistic well-being of their student-athletes. We look forward to this partnership and working closely with their team to support the overall wellness culture on campus," said Erik Poldroo, Co-Founder of The Zone.

The Zone app will allow regular check-ins, provide a road to early intervention, and assist in normalizing help-seeking – meeting student-athletes where they are and reducing barriers to access. The app permits students to interact anonymously while providing aggregate data on their well-being to Seton Hill, allowing the university to see the trends and provide strategies and resources as needs arise. Students will also be able to request tele-help through the app or work directly with the coordinator to locate resources specific to their situation. 

All Seton Hill student-athletes, administrators and coaches will have 24/7 access to the resources in The Zone app with features including a mood tracker (My Zone), wellness library, and links to campus resources. Additional speakers and presentations on mental health and wellness will also be provided by The Zone over the course of the year, tailored to the needs and wants of the students and staff. 

Read a Tribune-Review article covering the grant here.

About the Staunton Farm Foundation

The Staunton Farm Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of people who live with mental illness and/or substance use disorders. The Foundation works to enhance behavioral health treatment and support by advancing best practices through grant making to non-profit organizations in ten southwestern Pennsylvania counties.

About The Zone

The Zone is a digital platform designed for athletes to monitor and support their mental health and wellness. Through a series of unique content and programming, The Zone aims to provide athletes with premium, unfettered access to mental health and wellness tools, resources, and professionals aimed at managing and enhancing their holistic wellness experience.


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