How to train your mind

Counseling Center helping with Mental Health First-Aid

Following previous campaigns to increase suicide prevention and mental health awareness on campus and in the community, Del Mar’s Counseling Center plans to provide mental health awareness training to student groups, faculty and staff.

Counselor Johanna Torres hopes the training will help decrease the stigma surrounding mental health.

“We want to inform the community about mental health and how common it is,” Torres said. “The more you know about it the less stigmatized it is.”

The sessions will take place on the first Friday of every month beginning in September. Sessions will be from 9:30-10:30 West Campus and 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on East Campus in Harvin Center Room 233A.

In addition to these training sessions, the Counseling Center has applied for a grant from the Coastal Bend Community Foundation to support counselors becoming trainers in Mental Health First-Aid. Counselors will receive this training from the Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation.

“Mental Health First-Aid is a little bit different from suicidal prevention training because with Mental Health First-Aid we’re talking about the wide range of mental health diagnoses,” Torres said. “If we get the grant, we’re able to attend this training which means the Counseling Center can provide Mental Health First-Aid free of charge to the community and the campus.”

The department is also working with the Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation train the offices to be safe- zone certified for the LGBTQ population. According to Torres, these initiatives have resulted in an increase of students using counseling services.

“As the awareness has increased and the promoting of our events, we’ve seen an increase in students because they’re just more aware of the service,” Torres said. “It’s not so much that the symptoms are increasing; they’ve always been there. Students just know that we’re here now.”

The Counseling Center is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday. Students can schedule an appointment by phone at 361-698-1586 or email at Counselors can also go to students when needed.

“We have walk-ins available and of course, if a student is in crisis anywhere on the campus we can go meet them there and that’s something that people aren’t really aware about,” Torres said.

Students may also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Hotline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.

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