Clark State Community College has been awarded $5,000 from the Ohio Program for Campus Safety and Mental Health Collaborative Grant. The grant will benefit Clark State and community partner The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for Clark, Greene and Madison Counties.
Clark State established a NAMI on Campus Club for students earlier this year. NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. With this grant, the organization will work to increase campus awareness of mental health disorders and available treatment, and to reduce stigmas.
“One in five college students are dealing with a mental health condition,” said Melinda Van Noord, counseling services coordinator for Clark State. “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.”
Van Noord said the funds from the Ohio Program for Campus Safety and Mental Health Collaborative will be used for educational and promotional materials, and special events on campus.
“The focus will be on having a fun, stress-management activity and messaging around stigma reduction,” said Van Noord. “Stigmas and lack of information are the biggest reason people do not get treatment.”
NAMI on Campus held depression screenings this month in recognition of Depression Awareness Month. More than 100 people attended and approximately 40 people completed screenings.
Van Noord, a licensed professional clinical counselor, also hopes to use some of the grant funds for additional QPR suicide prevention training.
“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 training 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.
“I always try to tell people that others are also experiencing mental health concerns, and they are not alone,” said Van Noord. “It’s a medical problem, and it responds to treatment. It responds to support.”