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Mesa Student Health Services host panel discussion for suicide prevention

Elaine+Harkey%2C+16%2C+holds+hands+with+her+mother+Charity+Harkey-Vail+in+downtown+Oklahoma+City%2C+Okla.+on+Saturday%2C+Feb.+18%2C+2023.+Harkey+was+enrolled+in+a+residential+program+for+teenagers+with+autism+at+Fort+Behavioral+Health+before+it+was+abruptly+shut+down+by+the+state+of+Texas+last+month.
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Elaine Harkey, 16, holds hands with her mother Charity Harkey-Vail in downtown Oklahoma City, Okla. on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023. Harkey was enrolled in a residential program for teenagers with autism at Fort Behavioral Health before it was abruptly shut down by the state of Texas last month.

Suicide Prevention Week was observed in September, from the 10th to the 16th. Student Health Services hosted a panel discussion via Zoom on Wednesday, Sept. 16, to help bring awareness to a sensitive topic, in hopes of opening a dialog for students to ask questions, bring awareness to warning signs, and share resources. 

 

The meeting was moderated by faculty of Mesa Student Health Services and had the chat section available to allow for an open flow of participation and dialogue. Mental Health Coordinator Derrick White, Counseling Adjunct Faculty Lourdes Estrada, and San Pedro Counseling Adjunct Faculty Maria Aurora. San Diego Mesa College Health Services provides a safe and private place, allowing for students to talk with a mental health professional about their concerns. Limited-term mental health services for issues including: stress, anxiety, depression, life-changing adjustments, loneliness, relationship struggles, behavioral conditions, and questions about identity, are available to currently enrolled students at no cost.

 

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The bulk of the hour was dedicated to dispelling common misconceptions and laying out key things to be on the lookout for. One of the main warning signs that was touched on was the “feeling of being unneeded or unwanted”, as this can be a precursor to suicidal ideation, and people with these feelings often suffer in silence. “Not being open about your mental health”, while some feel/felt like they can handle their emotions, others will make excuses to not seek help from a mental health professional. “But, they looked happy” this was one that the chat buzzed the most about. Several comments were made about public figures in the news and personal friends or family members that they never imagined as having these problems. Another topic that was brought up was the “feeling of being a coward or being selfish for having suicidal thoughts”. 

 

Additionally, Counseling Adjunct Faculty Monica Woodruff reminded the group that there are many options for treatment. Typical medications that require a professional to prescribe can take a few weeks or even a month to take effect. Meditation could be another option, though it’s a longer term solution. Lots of outside-the-box ideas, such as yoga – or goat yoga – breathing techniques, physical fitness, and so much more can be found to support a positive well-being. 

 

Resources and Support:

Mesa Student Health Services- For medical, nursing, and mental health counseling- call 619-388-2774 ** accepts students for both telehealth and in-person appointments. 

Active Minds club- https://www.activeminds.org/

It’s Up to Us- https://www.up2sd.org/ 

Veterans Success Center- 2nd and 4th Monday’s 1:30-2:30 PM room K103 ** do not need to be a Veteran to attend.

A big reminder prior to the close of the discussion was to make sure if you see someone (or you yourself) feeling like they are having these kinds of feelings that it is important to utilize the Referral Form for Student Concern- https://www.sdmesa.edu/college-services/administrative-services/forms/documents/health-services-student-referral.pdf

 

 

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About the Contributor
Michelle Hagge
Michelle Hagge, Staff Writer
Michelle is a Journalism major with a focus in Public Relations, with plans to transfer to San Diego State next fall. Michelle has been working and volunteering in the non-profit sector for a number of years serving Military and their families. Michelle is an avid sports fan and enjoys hiking and running.
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