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CCC gets state money for mental health
Eastern New Mexico News - 7/24/2022
Jul. 23—Clovis Community College has been awarded a $50,000 grant to pay for mental health services for students from the New Mexico Higher Education Department.
The Clovis Community College grant is part of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's$1 million Mental and Behavioral Health Grant Initiative across the state "to expand existing services, add new resources, conduct staff training, and engage in outreach campaigns encouraging students to seek help," as stated in a press release.
Marcus Smith, CCC's director of counseling, advising, student life and government relations said in the first two weeks of classes in the fall semester, the college is going to distribute a survey, which will ask students about the mental health issues and struggles they have experienced while attending the college. The grant will pay for this survey.
The information the college gathers will be used to create presentations on topics that address the various mental health issues students reported, Smith said. The college will invite presenters who are experts on the subjects and the grant money will pay the presenters' fees.
Asked what types of mental health issues college students are having, Smith said "anxiety, multi-life issues such as balancing school, life, work, kids, bills and the ever-changing social environment, like COVID and anything that causes social stress or social anxiety.
"Our faculty do a really good job of assisting our students but we do have a licensed counselor and a licensed social worker" available to help students in "crisis situations and make community referrals when needed."
The college will distribute the questionnaire to students through their e-mail accounts and the online learning portal, he said. The survey will ask students to rate, for example, their mental health as excellent, good, fair or poor.
Another question will be: In the past two weeks, how often has your mental health interfered with your ability to get a task accomplished; often, very often, somewhat or not at all?
One presentation will be an in-depth discussion of coping strategies, he said. "We really want to hit on those topics like anxiety reduction." The college plans two presentations in the fall semester and two in the spring. One will be in late October and another in late November.
The grant money will also pay for "giveaways" at the presentations such as a USB drive that contains meditation techniques, meditation music and resources for the students, he added.
"One big thing we want to do is to hold a resource fair, inviting representatives from different counseling and social service agencies in the area" for the students to meet, he said.
Clovis Community College has a population of about 2,500 students, he said.
"In the context of coming back to campus after the pandemic and after the devastating fires for some campuses, these mental and behavioral health grants provide necessary resources," Higher Education deputy secretary Patricia Trujillo said in the release. "Normalizing students using these services is a critical way that we can create student-ready campuses in New Mexico."
For more information about the New Mexico Higher Education Department and resources for college students, visit hed.state.nm.us, as stated in the release.
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