Clark State Community College continues to keep the health and wellness of students a top priority. The college recently established a NAMI ON CAMPUS Club for students. NAMI–National Alliance on Mental Illness-is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
Melinda Van Noord, counseling coordinator for Clark State, said NAMI ON CAMPUS chapters exist at many colleges. NAMI works to end stigmas, make it easier to seek help, make sure everyone knows how to help a friend and to ensure the campus is a welcoming place for everyone.
“One in four college students have a mental health condition,” said Van Noord. “Because of continuing stigma, many individuals do not ask for help. Using peers to promote help-seeking behaviors is a very powerful tool in stigma reduction.”
NAMI ON CAMPUS at Clark State will be present at student events throughout the year to raise awareness about stigma and mental health issues and educate about treatment resources.
As part of the Changing Campus Culture initiative, Clark State will host an Intimate Partner Violence and Diverse Communities on Campus training by Olivia Montgomery, outreach coordinator to underserved populations at Ohio Domestic Violence Network.
“The training will focus on domestic violence within diverse communities - African American/multi-racial, Hispanic and LGBTQIA groups,” said Van Noord. “Participants will learn about unique barriers within each underserved population and be able to identify inclusive ways to encourage reporting of abuse.”
Group activities will help participants understand the challenges of diverse students across campus.
The Intimate Partner Violence and Diverse Communities on Campus training will begin at 11 a.m., Wednesday, April 11 in the Security National Bank Community Rooms 207/209 in the LRC building at the Springfield campus on Leffel Lane. It is open to all faculty, staff and students. Pizza will be available for lunch.
In addition, Clark State will host QPR Gatekeeper training on Wednesday, April 18 at 1 p.m. at the Greene Center at the Beavercreek campus. A gatekeeper is defined as anyone who wants to help and is able to recognize a crisis and warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide.
“QPR stands for Question, Persuade and Refer,” said Van Noord. “Like CPR, it is meant to be a chain of survival for suicidal individuals.”
Participants in the QPR Gatekeeper training will learn to identify signs of emotional distress and warning signs that someone may be suicidal; learn how to ask someone if they are having suicidal thoughts; learn how to instill hope through supportive interventions; and receive information about local mental health resources and national crisis hotlines for suicide prevention.
Van Noord, who is a licensed professional clinical counselor, said the Mental Health Recovery Board of Clark, Greene, and Madison County reached out to Clark State to host this QPR training. They obtained a grant to provide free QPR training in Greene County; it is open to students, staff, faculty and the community.
“Providing QPR trainings is very important,” she said. “Suicide rates have been slightly increasing yearly. QPR trainings provide valuable information about prevention and available resources.”
Van Noord hopes the training will help community members understand that mental health problems are illnesses and not character problems. “Hopefully continual efforts to educate the community will result in decreased stigmatization of mental health issues,” she said.