The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

New plans to prioritize student mental health education, well-being set in motion

Mental health resources, education and overall well-being were highlighted by Student Health Center Director Susan Nilles at the Academic Senate meeting on Tuesday, May 16. 2015 file photo. (John Fordiani | The Union)

A new platform for students interested in mental health careers who are willing to help people, regardless of experience, will soon be available.

Togetherall is a peer-to-peer online mental health community featuring 24/7 clinical moderation, courses and resources for students.

The platform was first introduced in the Academic Senate meeting on May 16, which also included a statistics update for available resources and new plans.

Academic Senate Vice President of Communications and Logistics Maria Garcia said she “can’t wait” for the new program.

“I think that it would be really amazing especially if your students can get some sort of specialized training … you have to have a very special skill set to be able to support someone,” Garcia said.

Director of the Student Health Center Susan Nilles said El Camino is participating in its cohort study, which is evaluating the impact and effectiveness of Togetherall, along with other community colleges participating.

Among the new topics presented during the meeting, the Senate announced that the new Student Health Services Building will be constructed at the new Modular Village next to parking Lot L.

It will be more visible to students and currently features models for its lobby, nurse station, exterior and interior locations.

There are plans for constructing a new Wellbeing Center, focusing on counseling help; however, it has no models or designs available.

Online services were given a statistics update also during the presentation.

TimelyCare, the platform enabling students to talk with a licensed psychologist any time of the day, has had a 6.3% increase since the platform’s implementation, with students ranging from ages 18 to 60 and older.

Students that use the service frequently, moderately or rarely had a 75.15% improvement in mental health performance, according to slides presented by Nilles.

Another study being conducted is the campus-wide mental health survey about student health and well-being at California community colleges, which can be found frequently through the El Camino College email inbox.

It’s currently available and for those who want to participate may be eligible to win a $250 Amazon gift card.

Another topic brought up at the meeting was greater awareness of the fentanyl crisis.

Drug overdose deaths have increased by about 30% from 2019 to 2020 and quintupled since 1999 according to the CDC.

Resources and services are still being planned at the college; However, Nilles said fentanyl strip tests will be available at health services in the future.

Academic Senate President Darcie McClelland said addressing issues such as fentanyl use needs to be encouraged, even though it can be “scary” to look at these problems.

“I think that when we’re not proactive about recognizing problems in society that impact our students … we just won’t be able to help students,” McClelland said.

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