Living Well Initiative

The Living Well Initiative is a multidisciplinary educational program addressing the needs of persons and families affected by severe and persistent mental health conditions. The program is co-sponsored by SPU’s School of Health Sciences and the School of Psychology, Family, and Community.

The Initiative includes the Dickinson Fellowship Program, research projects, and community outreach and advocacy.

The Dickinson Fellowship provides training and funding for approximately 10 undergraduate and graduate students each year. This multi-disciplinary, competitive fellowship supports students who will one day work with persons and their families impacted by severe and persistent mental health conditions, in mental health or other clinical settings such as primary care or acute care.

Seminars are held every other week throughout the academic year. Autumn Quarter is devoted to training about the individual experience of mental illness, while Winter Quarter addresses the family experience, and Spring Quarter focuses on community and government issues.

Seminars include:

  • book analyses
  • video presentations and discussions
  • research planning and presentation
  • planning and discussion of community outreach
  • planning and discussion of activities with the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI)
  • guest speakers

To encourage cross-disciplinary understanding, students from various health perspectives discuss theoretical models and treatment for severe and persistent mental illness from their specific disciplines.

Students also attend community meetings of NAMI, participate in the annual NAMI walk, observe Mental Health Court in Seattle, and have the opportunity to participate in ongoing research conducted by faculty scholars.  

Research. The Living Well Initiative sponsors research in the area of severe mental illness, stigma, community health, and faith. Read several examples of published research conducted by faculty scholars and previous fellows.

Community Outreach and Advocacy. Each year, faculty scholars secure mental health outreach and advocacy opportunities for fellows. These opportunities may include:

  • Clean Start. Graduate fellows deliver presentations to and conduct activities (arts and crafts) in a community Seattle clinic for individuals with severe and persistent mental illnesses. Attendees at these seminars had dual diagnoses (substance abuse and mental illness), were homeless or in transitional housing, and were diverse in terms of age and race.
  • NAMI at SPU. Managed by Dickinson fellows, NAMI sponsors events throughout the academic year to provide education and advocacy regarding mental health conditions for the student community.
  • NAMI Walk. Faculty sponsors and fellows participate in the annual 5K walk for the National Alliance for Mental Illness. This event helps raise money for the organization and awareness about issues related to mental illness.


Faculty Contact

Marcia​ Webb

Associate Professor of Psychology; Director of Internships; Faculty Scholar, Living Well Initiative

Phone: 206-281-2683
Office: Marston 106

Support the Living Well Initiative

If you would like to donate funds to support the Living Well Initiative, please visit SPFC’s donation page and select “Living Well Initiative” as your designation.

Tiffany Loop

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