Center for Psychological Services Celebrates Food for Thought During Mental Health Month

by Anne Reynolds

Center for Psychological Services Celebrates Food for Thought During Mental Health Month
Dean Ann Ardis and Dr. Robyn Mehlenbeck open the Food for Thought event on the shores of Mason Pond.

Mason’s Center for Psychological Services held its fifth annual Food for Thought fundraiser at the beginning of May, to raise awareness of the mental health needs of the Northern Virginia community and to highlight the ways in which the center serves those needs.

Robyn Mehlenbeck, director of the center, and Ann Ardis, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, opened the evening from the shores of Mason Pond, speaking about the transition of education and the work of the center to a virtual space at the outset of COVID-19 restrictions. The hour-long event, hosted by DC101 radio personality Gregory Roche, and featuring appearances by renowned chef José Andres and musical performers SHAED, raised nearly $85,000 for the center. 

George Mason University’s Center for Psychological Services (CPS) is the primary training clinic for graduate students in the clinical and school psychology programs and serves the community through a range of evidence-based treatment services, primarily therapy, psychoeducational testing, and mental health evaluations. CPS serves all ages (children, adolescents, and adults) and provides individual, family, group therapy, and couples counseling. 

Services are primarily provided by graduate students under the supervision of qualified, licensed professionals. All of the center’s  supervising faculty are affiliated with Mason, practicing, teaching, and/or conducting nationally funded research. 

May was Mental Health Awareness Month, a perfect opportunity for the center to highlight its role in the Fairfax community. Food for Thought introduced viewers to some of the graduate students who provide services through the center, as well as some of the people who have benefitted from those services. The 144 online participants had the opportunity to bid on three live auction opportunities and a number of silent auction items, provided by a host of generous sponsors. 

“We were blown away by the willingness of so many people to help make our first virtual event a success!" said Mehlenbeck. "The funds raised will help essential workers, veterans, and others receive critical therapy and testing services at affordable rates. As the pandemic is ending, the mental health crisis is truly emerging, and we want to be there to help our community.”