Counseling and Psychology Services and Project OCEAN hosted a Mental Health First Aid Training Thursday to educate staff, faculty and students on mental health awareness and the resources available for those in crisis.
“A lot of people don’t know what mental illness is, what it looks like, and how it affects people,” Nick Duran Fair, graduate peer educator said. “A big reason for that is stigma, it blocks people from getting informed.”
MHFA is a two-day training that gives students, faculty and staff an overview of mental illness. The program is intended to teach us how to recognize the signs of a mental health crisis and how to refer people to the appropriate care.
Pamela Rayburn, coordinator of Women’s & Gender Equity Center and Corrie O’Toole, faculty staff and assistance counselor, coordinated the training.
“Mental illnesses affect what we feel, how we think, and what we choose to do,” O’Toole said.
According to a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students. About 1,100 students complete suicide every year, with thousands of more attempts
MHFA started in Australia in 2001 and carried over to the United States in 2008. This is the campus’ first-year introducing this training. Previously, Project OCEAN hosted the Question, Persuade, and Refer program whose focus was similar to MHFA.
Gladis Lopez, a coordinator with the Student Life and Development Department, took part in the program and said that the training would be useful to increase her knowledge about mental health.
“Working with youth and seeing what they have gone through has given me drive to have a better understanding of being aware of resources,” Lopez said. “Because now people are more willing to open up about different things, I just want to reassure whoever might need it.”
Christina Ramos, an education outreach coordinator at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center is aware of how suicide and mental health affects the people.
“I think mental health training should be as normalized as taking a CPR class, we should all know this,” Ramos said. “It is important to break down that stigma and be aware of how people are suffering and what we can do at your limited capacity.”
CAPS advocates for suicide prevention and mental health awareness in training sessions, workshops, 24-hour hotlines and appointments. Students can reach out to a counselor by calling CAPS primary line: 562- 985-4001.
Students who are interested in the MHFR training can sign up on, csulb.edu/CAPS. If you or anyone else is in need of assistance or a crisis call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255.