Sukhnoor Kaur is representing Mission College as its first Student Wellness Ambassador for the 2019-2020 academic school year. This student led project was piloted in 2018 to further support the Health & Wellness Program initiatives developed by the Foundation of California Community Colleges (CCC) in 2011 as a statewide effort focusing on prevention and early intervention (PEI) strategies to address the mental health needs of California community college students.
The Student Wellness Ambassador Program (SWAP) for the 2019-2020 academic school year applications was open to any eligible CCC student in the spring of 2019. Sukhnoor is part of the second cohort of this program and one of the 20 students who were selected out of 220 applicants from across 70 CCCs.
During the summer, Sukhnoor attended a comprehensive two day training in Sacramento hosted by the Foundation of California Community Colleges. Ever since, she has been working diligently to make the Mission College campus aware of the Student Wellness Ambassador Program, the statewide resources that are available and ways they can support in raising mental health awareness and reducing stigma.
Intent on disseminating information on resources to her peers, she has created a student club, Mission College’s Mental Health Club (MCMHC), where she is putting into practice the peer-outreach strategies she learned during her training to connect students with resources on and off campus. Not only is she providing her peers information that promotes mental health and wellness, she has created leadership opportunities for her fellow students to support in this campus wide initiative and participate in their own personal and professional development by attending workshops such as the Mental Health First Aid Training.
Moreover, she has invited faculty and staff to present to club members on topics such as: positive body image; culture, identity and mental health; suicide prevention awareness; anxiety and stress management; relationship and boundaries; substance use and prevention; foods affecting mental health; and equity and mental health. She is actively promoting the importance that respecting the health of the mind should have in each of our lives as it relates to an individual’s physical health.
In collaboration with Mission College’s Mental Health Specialist, Nadia Vulfovich LMFT, Sukhnoor brought awareness to World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, 2019 by tabling and engaging the community by informing them of resources provided by Each Mind Matters (California’s Mental Health Movement), Kognito, Know the Signs, Crisis Text Line, Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Campus Well and resources that are available in the Student Health Center on campus.
Furthermore, she has developed a 2019-2020 academic school year action plan and is leveraging the support of the campus community (i.e., Mental Health & Wellness Committee, the Mental Health Specialist, Student Services Council, College Council, Classified Senate, Academic Senate, Student Equity and Success Department, Counseling Department, Mission College Faculty and student clubs) to present in classes, develop workshops, disseminate information on resources, collaborate on events such as the annual Mental Health & Student Services Fair on October 10th and coordinate a mental health and wellness event during the month of May (Mental Health Awareness Month).
In addition to her Student Wellness Ambassador role, Sukhnoor also holds a student staff leadership role on campus; she is the TRIO Student Support Services Program’s Mathematics Tutor. As a student staff, whenever possible, she takes advantage of participating in professional and personal development opportunities. During spring 2019, she participated in the Mental Health First Aid training and became a certified responder.
Now, in her ambassador role, she is using this platform to bring awareness of resources such as the online training simulation, Kognito, to her fellow student staff leaders on November 1, 2019 during the Mental Health and Wellness Student Staff Training. She is leading a workshop on the different simulations Kognito offers students, specifically on learning how to detect signs of psychological distress, strategies in approaching situations and how to refer individuals to available resources. As the student representative in the Mental Health & Wellness Committee, she has led the effort in Mission College offering these workshops to the campus community.