Mental Health Counseling provides support for suffering students

LaShawn Encarnacion

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In the corner of the second floor of the A building, there is a door marked A-221. Once inside, students will find an office that provides services that they may or may not be aware of: the Mental Health Counseling office.

With so many stresses in the everyday world, from financial and family issues to relationship troubles, the MHC office is there. Staffed with interns who are ready to listen with an unbiased ear, they provide resources and support if students need a shoulder to lean on.

The MHC program is run by Leslie Easton, a licensed clinical social worker, with assistance from two adjunct counselors, Abigail Burd, L.C.S.W. and Matthew Ring.

Even with the budget cuts, this office was not majorly impacted as interns are brought in to run the services and can provide services in a wide range of languages.

“Crisis intervention counseling is offered to individuals, couples and families who are enrolled at City. As long as one person is enrolled at City, any couple or family of the student can receive services from a number of our interns,” Gerard Skiles, a senior intern from San Diego State University, shares.

“There are a wide range of social support groups, such as the Lesbian, Gay, Transsexual, Bisexual groups, Friendship groups, and Healthy Relationships groups, depending on the semester and the amount of interns available,” Skiles adds.

While some students may have reservations about using these services due to trust issues, there are policies in place that protect any and all students. Upon their first visit, students sign a consent form based on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that all medical fields must adhere to.

All topics are kept personal, private and confidential. The only exception is “mandated reporting,” in which counselors must report when there is talk or suspicion of child or elderly abuse, or if a student wants to hurt themselves or someone else.

The MHC office also works closely with the Veterans office in A-220. With the approval of the Wounded Warriors grant, the office urges all enrolled veterans to get in contact with them for more details.

The MHC office is open Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays 8 a.m.-4 p.m, Wednesdays from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and Fridays 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

For more information, visit sdcity.edu/MentalHealthCounseling.

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