Mental Health Counseling Center receives $272,000 grant

Katherine Salindayao-White

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San Diego City College’s Mental Health Counseling Center has been awarded $272,000.

The Garret Lee Smith Suicide Prevention Grant will fund students suffering with mental illness. This includes helping the prevention of suicide and providing treatment.

Garrett Lee Smith committed suicide in 2003 the day before his 22nd birthday. Although this was tragic for Garret’s father Gordon H. Smith, he wanted something positive to come out of the situation.

In October 2004 the Garret Lee Smith Memorial Act became the first legislation to fund youth suicide prevention programs.

“I think this grant is important just in general, at this age students are diagnose the most with mental illness and it’s important to understand those factors,” Master of Social Work, Administrative Intern Keiara Allen said.

The Mental Health Counseling Center will use this grant to team up with departments on campus, community partners and health care providers. It will also promote crisis lines for students and address the warning signs for suicide.

“This grant will keep our mental health peer educators on the campus,” adjunct counselor Julie Little said. “It will allow us to have their efforts, as they do a lot of different activities both to educate students on the signs of suicide and also to support the campus in general by providing stress relief activities. Things like meditation and art therapy and then they also run a lot of campus events like our suicide prevents fairs.”

There will also be a focus on the populations at risk, which include LGBTQ, veterans, Native American/Native Indian and foster youths. The center will facilitate education seminars for students and staff. There will also be events such as a Health Wellness Expo, and interpersonal violence and sexual assault response training and classroom presentations coordinated by Little.

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