Therapists in Residence

Now part of a larger mental health and wellness initiative, therapists—and their dogs—are living in some SCU residence halls.

Sam, a therapy dog, and his human therapist companion make their home, and their office, in McLaughlin-Walsh Residence Hall.

Melba Mathew ’12 has lived there as a therapist-in-residence since spring 2023. Their presence is a novel solution to a complicated problem—how best to support student mental health.

“Part of what intrigued me about the job is that there’s a need here that can be addressed in a creative way, right in the building,” says Mathew.

She and Sam aren’t alone in the work. Kristin Tappan ’11, M.A. ’17 has the same role in University Villas. The positions are now part of a larger mental health and wellness initiative funded by a $1.5 million gift from a Bay Area philanthropist.

resident therapy dog, Sam
The very good boy, Sam, at home in McLaughlin-Walsh Residence Hall. Photo by Jim Gensheimer.
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