Alejandro Gonzalez Valle
September is suicide awareness month, and there are numerous resources for students struggling with suicidal thoughts or other mental illnesses both on campus and in the community.
Counseling sessions are among the resources offered to students. City College has 13 personal counselors on campus, two of which are working full-time. For the $20 health fee students can go to the counselors up to six times each semester and can bring a family member, friend or significant other to the meetings.
“I know so many people who are struggling with their mental health,” said City College student Emilie Sanglid Paaby. “It’s good that the school offers counseling and that they are breaking the stigma by being very open about their services.”
In fact, according to a study from the American College Health Foundation, more than 50% of college students have had suicidal thoughts at some point and most don’t tell anyone about it or seek professional help. That same study also found that in 2016 suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10-34 and that 121 people commit suicide every day in the U.S.
“The most common issue students have when they are coming to the counselors are depression, anxiety, stress, suicidal thoughts, the loss of a family member or problems in a relationship,” said Alyson Bostwick, full-time personal counselor at City College.
“Personal counseling can help with their academic focus as it provides a safe and confidential space in which students can talk about the struggles or issues that they may be having that may be impending their focus in the classroom,” she said.
For students who need more than the six sessions, the counselors available can also set student up with an outside therapy facility that best suits their needs and conditions. Those conditions can vary based on “symptoms, costs and insurance” Bostwick said.
For those without insurance, there is free therapy available through a grant funded by the county called the Transitional Age Youth program. This program is available for uninsured people between the ages of 16-25 who are experiencing an onset of mental disorders. The program offers free therapy, psychological assessment and other support.
Any students or faculty that are concerned about a student’s mental health can make an anonymous report on the Student of Concern Form that can be found in pipeline. This is completely anonymous and will allow a counselor to get in contact with the student. If necessary or in an emergency, they can even send someone to the student’s home to make sure everything is okay.
To schedule an appointment with a City College counselor, visit their office located in the Student Services Room 170 or call (805) 965-0581 x2298.