Psychological Services to use grant for student success

Psychological Services is at least one place Santa Monica College students can go to release their thoughts, work on solutions, and talk about any issues that may be stressing them out and wearing down their mental health.

Along with the efforts of Psychological Services to assist students, the department has been awarded the Student Mental Health Grant that can bring about new possibilities for what they are able to provide for the school.

According to licensed psychologist and coordinator at SMC, Dr. Sandra Rowe, the grant comes from the California Community Colleges Student Mental Health Program, and will focus on special training for faculty and students during times of crisis.

According to the CCCSMHP’s website, the main purpose for the grant is to focus on faculty and staff training, peer-to-peer support and suicide prevention. SMC was one of the 23 out of 112 community colleges selected for the grant.

Psychological Services currently holds several workshops to assist students, faculty, or anybody who may be in need of help.

The department provides counseling to students who may be having psychological issues that are interfering with their schoolwork, Rowe said.

“It’s really mostly focused on helping students to be successful in school,” she said.

According to licensed psychologist at SMC, Dr. Alison Brown, topics can range from healthy relationships, addiction, test anxiety and other kinds of outreach programs that Psychological Services offers.

In an upcoming November workshop on suicide prevention, training will be available to teach students and faculty how to be able to talk to someone they suspect may be suicidal, Rowe said.

Psychological Services has been a constantly growing program, and Rowe and Brown took over in 2008.

When the doctors arrived, they alone took on the task of assisting the college with approximately 35,000 students.

“We realized after the first year that wasn’t going to work,” Brown said.

The office has also been able to give training to predoctoral and postdoctoral interns in order to add help in the office, raising the staff count up to a total of seven.

Students do not have to pay to utilize the services on campus, as long as their health fees are paid.

Although they may not be able to commit to a student for the longterm, the program has been able to refer students to sources outside of the campus.

“Sometimes students come in, and there is more going on than can be resolved in a few sessions,” said Brown. “So we spend a lot of time trying to connect students to outside referral.”

Students are sometimes connected to local agencies that offer psychiatric services, said Brown.

“A lot of students don’t have medical insurance, so the nice thing is that we do have very good resources here on the west side in terms of low-cost counseling,” said Brown.

The main goal for the program is to help students be in a “place where they can be successful as students,” and “to just help them identify what’s going on,” said Rowe. “In the future, if they want to go and seek out more longterm therapy, they know what’s needed and they’ve had the opportunity to talk about it.”

The Psychological Services department’s office hours are Monday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Jonathan RamosComment