Heart in Mind

HeartInMind logo


HeartInMind is a mental health wellness project open to all students with disabilities who attend one of the colleges of the San Diego Community College District. A partnership between Disability Support Programs and Services (DSPS) districtwide, HeartInMind aims to increase awareness and support around the unique mental health needs and experiences of students with disabilities. Rooted in Sentipensante (sensing/thinking) pedagogy, this effort will introduce contemplative practices and draw on the inherent strengths of the individual to support the mental health needs and academic success of participants.


HeartInMind includes:

  • A mental health & disability resource hub 
  • Weekly student support group open to students districtwide (City, Mesa, Miramar and CE) 
  • Program training for DSPS & Mental Health Counselors 


A weekly support group supporting the mental health needs and experiences of students with disabilities.

Fall 2023 Meetings will be held on Friday's at 12 PM on Zoom. There will be no meetings on November 10th or 24th.

Meeting Date Topic Description/
August 25 Intro/Welcome Welcome to the Fall 2023 semester! This meeting is an opportunity to introduce ourselves into this space and collaborate on how we can utilize Heart Chats to express ourselves in a loving, compassionate, and genuine way.
September 1 The Name Game Give your disability a dastardly nickname and describe it as a nemesis. Give your disability a friendly nickname and describe it as a companion.
September 8 The Story of Me

If your childhood was a novel, what would the genre be and why?
September 15 Relationships

How has living with your disability impacted your personal or professional relationships?
September 22 Disability as a Superpower How have you impressed yourself lately? How is your disability like a superpower?
September 29: Apparent & Hidden Disabilities Describe some differences between apparent and hidden (non-apparent) disabilities and how that dynamic is at play in your experience.
October 6 Support & Self-Care What support do you need right now that you’re not getting? What does self-care look like for you?
October 13 Let it Out! What/who frustrates you and why? What kinds of accommodations (supports) are the most helpful for you?
October 20 Identity How does your disability intersect with other aspects of your identity?
October 27 Am I Understood? Who really “gets” you and how does that make you feel? Who really doesn’t understand you at all and what changes do you wish they would make in regard to their relationship with you?
November 3 Pop Culture Do you feel that your disability is adequately represented in pop culture? If so, describe how, and if not, describe how that has impacted you.
November 17 Self-Esteem How does your disability impact your sense of self? What are you really, really, incredibly, amazingly good at?
December 1 A Letter to Myself Write a letter to your younger self. 
December 8 Healthy Living How does your disability affect your overall emotional, mental, and/or physical health?
December 15 At My Best  Describe what it feels like when you’re at your best.


Sentipensante (Sensing/Thinking) Pedagogy: Educating for Wholeness, Social Justice, and Liberation (Stylus Publishing 2014)

Our Philosophy

The philosophy and approach of HeartInMind is informed by Professor Laura Rendón’s book, Sentipensante (Sensing/Thinking) Pedagogy: Educating for Wholeness, Social Justice, and Liberation (Stylus Publishing 2014). Sentipensante pedagogy provides powerful insights on how to incorporate thoughtful and social justice-oriented practices into our academic spaces. Sentipensante pedagogy, according to Dr. Rendón, works with three goals:

  • “Disrupt and transform entrenched beliefs…about teaching and wholeness…that act against wholeness and appreciation of truth in all forms” (135).
  • Cultivate “personas educadas, well-rounded individuals who possess knowledge and wisdom” (136).
  • “Instill learners with a commitment to sustain life” (136).

Our project will incorporate Rendon’s goals to empower students with disabilities to honor their intersecting identities and support their mental health needs. 



“Why were we able to make the world virtually accessible only when it mattered for non-disabled people?”
- Emily Ladau, Disability Rights Activist


In this powerful video on why “'Normal' Was Not Working For Everyone,” three individuals describe their re-entry anxiety following the lifting of Covid-19 protocols all around the U.S. From racial discrimination to grappling with an inaccessible world, these stories reflect the important intersections the pandemic has brought to light and motivates us to think of a return to better instead of “normal.”

Please connect with us if you would like to collaborate or want more information!

Lupita Lance | glance@sdccd.edu