By Trish Nguyen, Staff Writer—
On Tuesday, Sept. 20, the Center for Student Wellbeing hosted their Youth Mental Health First Aid training in the University Center, an eight-hour session focused on how to help those suffering with mental illness, suicidal thoughts and substance abuse.
The Center for Student Wellness leads many initiatives devoted to education about mental health and suicide prevention.
Tricia Henderson, interim director of the Center for Student Wellbeing, discussed what this training session consisted of and the impact mental health education has on campus.
“It’s basically a delve deeper into mental health problems, how to recognize them, how to intervene, breaking that stigma of what it means for someone living with mental illness,” Henderson said. “It has a lot of exercises and activities for people in the training to really see the progression of how [a mental illness] can unfold. It is not always easy to see when someone is suffering from depression or mental health problems.”
Those who attended the training received a detailed first aid workbook that thoroughly explains the signs and symptoms related to different mental illnesses, and how to talk to someone who needs help.
The workbook and lecture were created by the Mental Health First Aid Training and Research Program in Australia, and are designed for people who frequently work with or around young adults.
The training stressed that those closest to people with mental illnesses learn about methods for early intervention and about the harm in stigmatizing mental illness.
“Most students would say that stress, mental health problems and relationship issues impact their education and impact their daily lives,” Henderson said. “It’s about just making sure that they know that we’re having a conversation about well-being and that we’re having a conversation about mental illness. We have resources. We’re going to be a campus that talks about mental illness and that includes suicide prevention.”
While recognizing the signs and symptoms of different mental illnesses is important, one person’s experience is not representative of all those who struggle with mental illness.
They hope that by having resources available to students struggling with mental illness, students will know that professionals on campus will advocate for them and help them meet their educational goals to progress towards a healthy life.
September is suicide awareness month. The Center for Student Wellbeing works to improve existing programs and develop new resources for the betterment of the student body. They will continue to hold free, informative events about mental health, specifically suicide prevention, until mid-October.