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Meet Jessica Rossi (she/her/hers). Three years ago, she join the Jefferson Center team. When asked how she likes her role, she responds with enthusiasm, “I love it!” So, we wanted to get to know why Jessica loves her job and how she takes this passion and connects it to serve her community.

Since the moment she was interviewed, Jessica connected with the value of Community that Jefferson Center is committed to every day. She recalls hearing about opportunities to not only grow in her role but also be able to connect throughout the center. Jessica lives this connection not only through her role as a clinician with Adult Outpatient Services, but also by engaging with other opportunities including DBT Core Team, SEAD, DEI Committee, Speaker’s Bureau, and the Brand Ambassadors. She says of these roles, “I love meeting and connecting with people I normally wouldn’t. It makes me appreciate what others do throughout the center.” Jessica also works with interns and loves being able to train and build new people coming into the field. She helps them navigate through the program and help direct them to what they want to do. It means everything to Jessica that Jefferson Center is willing to invest in people and connect them with their interests and strengths.

As Jessica shared about her various roles, it was easy to feel the passion she has for the work she does. When the passion is evident, it’s natural to ask “Why? Where does this come from?” Jessica’s journey to mental health work began in college. At the beginning of college, Jessica wasn’t sure what she wanted to do as a career, but she thought psychology sounded interesting. Her real passion when entering college was sports. As a student-athlete, sports were her life. College was fun and Jessica excelled in both sports and academics. Then senior year came.

As her final year in college started to wrap up, so did sports, the only life Jessica knew. For years, her identity had been wrapped up in being an athlete. She started to feel unprepared for the transition out of college and started experiencing anxiety and depression. However, she didn’t understand what was happening. Jessica shared her struggles with friends and they encouraged her to get some help. Through therapy, Jessica was able to process her feelings and learn strategies to cope with her mental health.

Although it was a difficult time, Jessica shares that this process taught her empathy and she uses it in both her personal and professional life. With friends, family, and others she meets, Jessica believes in advocating for mental health and encouraging people to speak up about their stories. She knows her training also allows her to be a resource and connect people to the right place for help.

In the wake of the pandemic, she has seen more people talk about their mental health – especially athletes – and she connects her personal struggles as an athlete with mental health to help support the people she sees. At work, Jessica is grateful to people when they simply show up. By showing up, they allow themselves to receive help while also encouraging people to share their journey and the importance of caring for their mental health with friends and family.

When not in the office, Jessica loves to fill her life with variety! She spends time with her husband and Bernese mountain dog (who she rates a 10/10 doggo). Together, they love going to sporting events, especially football (go to USC!). Jessica decompresses after work in the kitchen, where, Jessica says, “My husband and I might be biased, but I make an amazing lasagna.” They enjoy the delicious lasagna while watching TV shows or movies. When asked what her favorite movie is, Jessica said, “Mercy Lewis,” trying to think, but finally says, “Top Gun: Maverick. I would watch it every day!”

Jessica’s compassion for people and effervescent personality is what makes Jessica a wonderful person and a vital part of the Jefferson Center team. Her commitment to being a mental health ally for the community and encouraging others to share their mental health journey shows how the dedication of one person can change lives every day.

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