link Leanne Lara Essay in The Mission Review!

Leanne Lara - Essay

Mental Health Awareness

My mental health disorders have been a vital reason for my struggle when it comes to any progress throughout the school year. My disorders are a part of me that have an impact on my decisions, actions and even my motivation. I have been to therapy for many years, and taken medication, but now that I’m 18 years old, the support for dealing with my mental health has shifted because of my insurance. In the middle of this, I have been trying to figure out my passion, and what my purpose is here on Earth so that I can major in.

I understand life can be beautiful and that having control of my mind is crucial to every step I take moving forward, yet each day seems like a constant battle with my thoughts. Even though my disorder impacts my motivation and goals, I have found success with the support from others, such as professors, and counselors at Mission College. Now that you have a little bit of insight into the mind of a student dealing with mental health disabilities, I believe that Mission College can further improve its mental health support starting with more accommodations, prioritization on mental health, and better protocol when it comes to teachers dealing with students. 

I believe Mission College can provide more accommodations to students who suffer from mental health disabilities, to make school more accessible and easier for them. The Disability Support Program & Services (DSPS) at Mission College welcomes students who have physical and mental health disabilities to join them for accommodations and extra support during a school semester. They offer specific academic counselors, tutors, and resources. Although they offer this support, I feel that they can improve their program by adding more accommodations that would help aid those with mental health disabilities because, “Mental health is the biggest issue 

Students at California community colleges say they are facing during the pandemic. That is, 67% of students report higher levels of anxiety, stress, depression, or other mental distress,” (Source 5). Knowing that mental health is a critical issue at our school, I believe DSPS can lower this rate by having a recorded list of students with mental and physical disabilities this way, they can separate the two to cater to their own, specific needs. Adding an accommodation of extended time on assignments for students who are registered with mental health disabilities can help these students thrive in their classes by giving them a chance to pass and avoid having to withdraw. Community colleges can take the approach of other, “college campuses by offering courses on mental health issues and skills, becoming involved with NAMI-on-Campus groups, and seeking grant opportunities that can be used to help develop and enhance services for the college community,”(Source 2). Mission college can definitely incorporate better involvement of NAMI-on-campus groups that can do a better job of discussing these sensitive topics around mental health and find out ways to offer solutions to students who are dealing with mental health.

Mission college offering more grant opportunities is also another great accommodation that they can implement into their system so that it can relieve stress from students who are dealing with financial problems, or for the students who don't have the access to therapists and professional help. Mission College seeking grant opportunities not only allows for better support programs but it also allows for extra money that can go back into the students who suffer from mental health issues due to financial situations which allows for school to become more accessible for them rather than it being another factor for their stress. Mission College will find a lot of success in resolving mental health issues on campus by offering more resources that allow school to become more accessible.  

Prioritization on mental health, such as more awareness on mental health is also needed since not many students are informed or it can be hard for them to reach out because they need to feel as if their feelings are valid. According to authors Cadigan, Duckworth, and Lee, “Programmatic efforts to support Community College students and promote prevention/intervention strategies for mental health, sleep, substance use, access to health care, and general medical concerns, remain essential." As you can see it is important for campus’ to focus on students who suffer from mental health disorders because if the students are not able to perform at their highest levels, it has an impact on how the school performs as a whole and can interfere with other students wanting to attend the campus.

Mission needs to focus on this main issue that is present within all community colleges so that students feel comfortable expressing the issues that they face and so that Mission can incorporate more ideas on how to resolve these issues or at least aid them to the best of their ability. A way that Mission College can do this is by hosting a more positive environment that validates the feelings of the students that suffer from mental health so that they can feel more motivated and comfortable to do well at school. This allows for students to feel like they have support not only for academics but for their feelings when it comes to receiving advice or even having a person that just listens.

DSPS can do a better job of focusing more on the feelings and thoughts of a student suffering from mental health issues when they go there for support in all areas. DSPS tends to focus more on academic support which can make the student feel as if DSPS is only helping them because it is their job to do so rather than it being an environment where they are able to support students who don't only need academic support but advice on how they can deal with their mental health. By incorporating these resolutions to campus, Mission College will be able to do a better job at making school more accessible and enjoyable for students who suffer from Mental Health.

According to "Students Need for More Mental Health Resources" written by Ryan Christy, “the research highlighted some key areas that universities should address, such as promoting support services available, recognizing the unique stresses of the curriculum and the need for provision of resources that can be accessed without fear, stigmatization or uncertainty” (1). Community colleges need to accept the fact that school is stressful and that it takes a huge toll on the mental capacity of nearly all students. By knowing this, Mission College can do a better job of giving students the resources and support that they need to relieve them of the stress that comes with school.

For example, I believe that Mission College should have more activities that rally behind the idea of mental health such as having yoga, mediation, or even fun activities that allow students to let loose. Mission college can also make it seem more normal for students to want to reach out for mental health support and make them feel as if it's valid to feel the way that they do.

They can do this by making it a daily topic and creating daily check-ins for the students who have declared to be suffering from mental health issues and make sure it's known that they are fully supported all the way. Mission college prioritizing mental health is the best thing they can do to support their students through better propaganda of mental health and normalizing support.  

Mission College can do a better job of making sure that its professors and counselors are well trained to deal with students who suffer from mental health issues. Many students that attend college never really learn how to deal with their mental health because the aid that they receive isn't the best, which is an issue not only for the student but for the performance of the school as well.

Matter a fact, students aren't the only ones that feel this way: “More than 60 percent of faculty believe that it should be mandatory for institutions to provide basic training on handling student mental health, and faculty want additional resources, such as a checklist of warning signs, guides for how to initiate conversations, and a list of available mental health resources” (Source 3).

From my understanding of the above evidence many teachers believe that they should receive some sort of regulated training that deals with students with Mental health issues since it is such a big issue in all schools due to the pandemic. Teachers would also like to receive additional information on how to recognize mental health issues when it is present and the different ways they can approach it in the most professional/effective way possible. I believe that Mission College should implement this within their own faculty because college already has a stressful curriculum and it is known that college students suffer through the most stress so it would definitely be effective.

The survey revealed that, “less than 30 percent of faculty have received training from their academic institutions to handle these issues, even though almost 70 percent say they would welcome this guidance and are eager to strengthen their support for students experiencing mental or emotional health challenges,” (Source 3). This reveals that not only are students in desperate need of the support, teachers as well are eager to learn and strengthen their roles in understanding mental health and would love to support their students. Mission college will become a one of a kind college if not only does it support its students, they can also support their teachers in knowing how to recognize mental health issues and ultimately finding the right support for their students. It is urgent that Mission college has its faculty do a survey of their own to see how many professors would enjoy better understanding mental health and becoming the change that Mission college needs at this moment in time. Mental health is an issue that can be resolved through proper training of its faculty for better support of its students.  

Mental health disabilities are a significant issue that is common amongst all community colleges and can be further improved at Mission College by giving more accommodations to students who are verified with mental health disorder, bring more awareness to mental health issues, and through better training of its faculty.

Mission college is already an amazing college that offers tons of support that is really helpful such as its DSPS program, TRIO Program, EOPS and so much more. Even though there is a ton of support there is no reason why Mission college shouldn’t strive to become better and more effective through the use of my ideas. Then again, the pandemic aroused many underlying issues that weren't so significant as they are now, and mental health is definitely one of those issues. Why remain stagnant when mission college can consistently progress to be better. Thank you Mission College. 


About the Contributor

Leanne Lara is a Psychology Major at Mission College. In her own words, "I'm a young adult trying to find my purpose."

Works Cited

1st Source: Students Need For More Mental Health Resources Due To Scholarly Expectations “The research highlighted some key areas that universities should address, such as promoting support services available, recognising the unique stresses of the medical curriculum and the need for provision of resources that can be accessed without fear, stigmatisation or uncertainty,”

2nd Source: Students Lack Of Knowledge to Mental Health Resources “it is believed that many students do not actually seek much-needed counseling services due to lack of knowledge about mental health problems or services, stigma, or denial of the severity of the problem// mental health problems may lead to students dropping out or failing out of college, Mental health nursing faculty can help address this problem on college campuses by offering courses on mental health issues and skills, becoming involved with NAMI-on-Campus groups, and seeking grant opportunities that can be used to help develop and enhance services for the college community,”

3rd Source:Lack Of Training For Dealing With Students With Mental Health Issues “The survey revealed that less than 30 percent of faculty have received training from their academic institutions to handle these issues, even though almost 70 percent say they would welcome this guidance and are eager to strengthen their support for students experiencing mental or emotional health challenges,”

“Almost half of respondents said that their institution should invest more in supporting faculty mental health and well-being More than 60 percent of faculty believe that it should be mandatory for institutions to provide basictraining on handling student mental health, and faculty want additional resources, such as a checklist of warning signs, guides for how to initiate conversations, and a list of available mental health resources,”

4th source:Mental Health Issues For Community College Students

The most commonly identified health issues were "general medical issues," "stress," "depression," and "sleep." Programmatic efforts to support CC students and promote prevention/intervention strategies for mental health, sleep, substance use, access to health care, and general medical concerns, remain essential.

5th Source: PPIC Mental Health issues In Community Colleges  Mental health is the biggest issue students at California community colleges say they are facing during the pandemic. That is, 67% of students report higher levels of anxiety, stress, depression, or other mental distress.

African Americans, and Latinos are more likely to experience mental health issues that are left untreated. Furthermore, students have lost access to critical campus-based resources and support. For students who work, the pandemic may have led to job loss or fewer hours worked. All of these factors can have a hand in compounding student anxiety.However, there are gaps in these resources—for example, under the CARES Act, undocumented students are ineligible to receive support. Community colleges must prioritize mental health services and related assistance as part of a comprehensive support system. Making mental health services accessible remotely.

Sources Used