What is the Learning and Self-Development Collaborative?
The LSDC is an innovative intervention offering a holistic package of services for young adults experiencing moderate-to-severe depression and anxiety. The development and evaluation of the LSDC was made possible by a collaboration between the Colorado State University School of Social Work, the Wholeness Center Integrative Mental Health Clinic, and The Nowak Society 501c3 nonprofit organization, with funding by the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care.
An urgent need exists to shift dialogue around mental-emotional distress to incorporate the complexity of the human experience and possibilities for meaning making outside of disease-focused diagnostic systems and associated psychotropic medication taking. The LSDC serves as a cost-effective holistic alternative aiming to support the biopsychosocial-spiritual lives of young adults through sustainable strategies, empowering paradigms and practices, and social support.
A recent evaluation of the LSDC with moderately-to-severely depressed or anxious young adults demonstrated significant improvements in depression, anxiety, global severity of distress, quality of life, and empowerment across six months for program participants.
Download and review a Research Brief to learn more about the LSDC program components and pilot project findings.
The Consciousness-raising Curriculum for Re-telling the Story of Ourselves is a unique curriculum developed as part of this project that aims to shift conversation away from an exclusively medical understanding of young adults’ mental and emotional distress. Instead, the consciousness-raising curriculum guides users in exploring myriad other frameworks and language for making meaning of intense mental-emotional distress (e.g., oppression, spiritual emergency, social context and cultural demands).
The interactive, self-guided format of this workbook is great for individual exploration or to facilitate groups, and is freely available for download and personal use. You have advance permission to print, copy, share, link, and distribute as many copies as you like, as long as you include source attribution.
If you are part of an organization or school and would like our team to facilitate this curriculum with your group of adolescents or young adults, please contact Dr. Shannon Hughes.
Download now: Consciousness-raising Curriculum for Re-telling the Story of Ourselves.
Listen now: Dr. Hughes on the “Beyond Well: Science” podcast.
What LSDC Participants are Saying
“The new connections I made through this study have been very important to me. Hearing about others’ struggles and worries has helped me to better understand my own feelings and emotions. Before coming I didn’t know where to even start to feeling better, but learning about the small adjustments I can make in my life, and how the world affects me has helped tremendously!” — Alex
“I have some strategies, opportunities, and activities now that I know I can only rely upon to help myself next time things get overwhelming. I thought I had run out of things to try but now I have more to look at!” — Bethany
“I was inspired to create a collection of sculptures which express my personal experience with anxiety and the effect of medicated treatment versus holistic modes of healing. Through the CSU study… I was able to gain insight about what is happening inside my mind and body and how I can spread my knowledge to help others dealing with similar situations. I would like to shed light upon [the holistic approach to mental health issues] in order to provide a multiplicity of paths for those working toward healing.” –Annie