Delta addresses mental health with new signs

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Physical health is noticeable for the most part, but what happens when students are crippled by an invisible force?

A simple definition of mental health is a person’s condition regarding their psychological and emotional well-being.

Mental health isn’t always taken seriously and those suffering from disorders or mental illness have been known to be ashamed or embarrassed to come forward to seek help.

Mental health awareness has grown significantly in recent years and being aware of mental health has become increasingly more important, especially in young adults.

Unfortunately, the stigma around mental health is far from gone.

This semester, Delta College has made it evident that it’s taking the mental health of their students seriously.

Delta is one of the largest community colleges in California, but unlike other large community college’s like Ohlone College, River City College and Santa Rosa Community College, it doesn’t have a Student Health Center.

“I’ve never understood why, with our large student population, why we don’t have a student health center,” said Heather Bradford, lead counselor in health and wellness.

The Referral and Support for Mental Health Student Services Division has released information that will help students attending Delta by using a new method to get information to their students.

Posted in classrooms throughout campus you can find posters with information on where to call in cases of psychiatric events, campus events and life issues you may have or witnessed. The poster also provides phone numbers for campus and community resources.

Currently Delta College has a team of counselors, all cross -trained to help students with things such as depression, personal problems and general issues. However, they are not experts or mental health counselors, specifically.

The Center for Collegiate Mental Health’s most recent report in 2015 showed more students are seeking mental health services.

“It’s hard, when you have too many classes There’s a lot of stress and anxiety…campus should have this here,” said Adrian Perez, when asked about the resources provided here on campus.

According to Bradford, anxiety and depression are in the top reasons students come to see a counselor. Although all counselors can deal with life crises they can’t do much but refer students to an outside resource in cases of more serious mental illnesses, whereas if there was a student health center they could be walked to a nurse on campus and receive treatments immediately.

“Not only can students receive help for mental health illnesses, they can also use a student health center for physicals, prescriptions and it’s perfect for the students that don’t have health insurance,” said Bradford.

Young adults, especially college students deal with large amounts of stress and anxiety according the National Association on Mental Illness (NAMI), 18.1 percent of American adults suffer from anxiety disorders, an estimated 42 million people, 6.9 percent suffer from depression, 16 million people roughly. Not only that but most mental illnesses and disorders begin between the ages of 14 to 24 and the majority of mental health issues are diagnosed between 18-24.

In 2016, the College Health and Wellness Advisory Group (CHWAG), was formed. CHWAG’s mission statement found on the Delta website states their purpose is to promote the health and wellness of the campus community, particularly the health and well-being of students to ensure their success at Delta College. CHWAG currently follows a six dimension wellness model that targets social, physical, occupational, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional needs of the student population.

“Retention is higher when schools have these services…as we start making baby steps and faculty gets comfortable with intervention, even just showing concern, that alone can prevent crisis and suicide in some cases,” said Bradford.

Bradford, who works with NAMI of San Joaquin mentions a potential “peer run, support group of trained individuals by NAMI, for students to come together on campus to share their stories and help manage mental health.”

Ultimately the goal is to have a student health center in the future but seems far away says Bradford.

“Until this is a priority for the entire institution from the top down we won’t see a student health center…the students have the strongest voice and the students are the ones that need to demand change,” continued Bradford.

Delta college isn’t adding services to campus as of now, but is showcasing what is available to the student population differently in hopes to build an environment where the student body feels welcomed and cared for. Delta offers these services free of charge that students can take advantage of. To set up an appointment with a counselor you can contact the Counseling & Special Services office at (209) 954-5151 ext. 6279.