Stress Support Group Tackles Issue of Mental Health on EC Campus


La Faune Gordon, the licensed clinical psychologist who organizes the De-Stress for Survival Group, gets ready to head home in the evening on Oct. 29. Omar Rashad/The Union Photo credit: Omar Rashad

A group of no more than four on average sit inside Student Services Center Room 106 discussing their personal life as of the previous week. One student may talk about stress from academic work, another may bring up their concerns regarding social interactions with others, but everyone takes notes on what they hear, including the doctor in the room.

With mental health becoming a topic more widely discussed in the mainstream, a stress support group on the El Camino campus looks to provide a space for individuals seeking help in managing their well-being. De-Stress for Survival Group meets every Wednesday at noon, offering an opportunity for individuals to share their own personal experiences and stresses with licensed clinical psychologist and certified clinical trauma specialist, Dr. La Faune Gordon.

“I think it’s helpful because it gives you a place where you can speak about whatever is bothering you,” said Miriam Howard, an EC student who has attended the group for two weeks now. “It’s kind of comfortable knowing that you can talk to La Faune and she comes up with different ideas to help you and how to get better at your stresses.”

Howard is currently taking a personal finance class to fulfill the requirements of an Office Applications Specialist certificate program. Because of her homework’s difficulty and her own procrastination, Howard feels stressed when completing schoolwork, she said.

“Sometimes when you keep everything inside its harder to deal with than when you share it with somebody,” Howard said. “I think it benefits me in the fact that I look at things a little better when I see what other people are doing.”

Howard’s stress falls in line with what El Camino Assistant Professor of Sociology, Dr. Kassia Wosick, noted to be prominent in today’s students at the high school and college level.

“I think sometimes as a culture, we think negatively of mental health in favor of other kinds of health,” Wosick said. “We think mental health is a private issue and (for) people who struggle—there’s something wrong with them.”

Anxiety, depression, feelings of inadequacy and inferiority complex are a couple examples of mental health issues prevalent among today’s youth, she said.

“There is help, there is assistance and it’s okay to ask for it,” Wosick said. “It’s okay to rely on it and it’s okay to work with people as they kind of work through mental health concerns.”

Gordon, who organizes the weekly stress support group and is one of five licensed clinical psychologists who work at the El Camino Health Center, also recognizes the value of mental health. While De-Stress for Survival is not meant for every single mental health issue, the group can be beneficial to students who are looking to receive group support, Gordon said.

“Having our mental health is just important as breathing,” Gordon said. “For many it’s the difference of life and death and we don’t always give it that attention.”

Although the group currently has an average of four individuals every week, Gordon wants the group to grow to a consistent six to eight people every week, she said.

“My hope is that they feel like they have an avenue to actually be able to express something,” Gordon said, “to feel comfortable enough in a safe environment to express some of their concerns, emotionally, that are impacting them in some way.”

Update Thursday, Nov. 1, 9:30 a.m., Room number was corrected in the first paragraph

Update Wednesday, Oct. 31, 12:23 p.m., Spelling was corrected on Kassia Wosick’s name in previous Update note. The Union regrets this error.

Update Wednesday, Oct. 31, 11:46 a.m., Spelling was corrected on Kassia Wosick’s name. The Union regrets these errors.

Update Wednesday, Oct. 31, 3:25 a.m., a typo was corrected in the eighth paragraph.