The number of students who have had a previous diagnosis or treatment for depression has increased from about 9% in 2009 to over 20% in 2019, according to the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment.
To help increase awareness and bring support to the student body, Del Mar College is now offering a free Mental Health First Aid course to all faculty and staff.
“MHFAiders are trained to assess for risk of suicide or harm, listen, give reassurance and information, encourage appropriate professional help and encourage self-help strategies and other support strategies. Faculty, staff and students are often the first to notice a person who may be struggling with their mental health,” said Rita Hernandez, lead counselor.
This eight-hour class teaches DMC faculty and staff the signs and how to respond to a wide variety of mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders. College students often struggle with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and adjustment to college, according to Hernandez.
Daniel Fischer, director of counseling, disability and retention, said that once faculty and staff receive their certification, they’ll be like an addition to the counseling team.
“The value of this certification is to create a network of helpers who are trained to recognize first and take action second,” Fischer said.
With this certification, faculty and staff can provide the appropriate care for those suffering from mental health or substance abuse.
“I work at the CED building and we are constantly engaging with the public. I want to be better prepared to help those walking in,” said administrative assistant Leslie Trevino, who has taken this course along with over 30 other faculty and staff members.
Because of the demand for this course the counseling department plans to have more classes in the future. Faculty and staff can sign up to be on a waiting list. For more informationm contact Hernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org.