Starting a Conversation About Mental Health

By Fernando Bazan
Staff Writer

The Student Health and Psychological Services department held an event in honor of World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10 to start a conversation on mental health and bring awareness to the resources offered to students on campus.

The event, attended by around 100 students, consisted of a viewing of “Its Real: College Students and Mental Health,” a documentary by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The documentary was meant to examine how students deal with depression.

Josephine Lara, the Interim Health Educator as well as the Mental Health Education Assistant at California State University Dominguez Hills, is the individual who coordinated the event. Lara had Dr. Katie Johnson, a psychologist who works on campus, present to answer any questions students had concerning mental health.

After the film finished, Dr. Johnson engaged with the crowd asking them questions about what things that stood out to them about the documentary.

“Students tend to engage more with topics that not only affect them but also their close friends, so I think that is why so many people showed up today,” said Johnson.

Mental health is a sensitive subject, but the more comfortable we make others feel about it, the higher the probability of them actively seeking out counseling may increase.

“I always encourage counseling, I understand that everyone isn’t exactly comfortable with talking about their emotions with strangers but we are here to listen, and everyone needs help at some point in their life,” said Lara. “Counseling is a great tool to combat depression, so now our goal is to get more people aware that counseling is available.”

Lara said during the spring semester of 2019, the psychological department will be attempting to make a fundraising walk in order to raise awareness of mental health.