Help is available for those who struggle with mental health


Photo courtesy of AP Images

Message board with notes for loved ones who took their own lives during an Out of the Darkness Walk event by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in Cincinnati, 2017.

Chloe Strickland, Staff Reporter

To save lives, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) aims to raise awareness of the high rates of suicide. The foundation offers help to those who struggle with suicidal thoughts and to those who have lost loved ones to suicide.

According to Jessica Vanderstad, regional director at the AFSP, the foundation’s goal is, “To save lives and provide hope to those affected by suicide. We are creating awareness and providing funds that specifically go to education programs, advocacy efforts, research and support programs.”

The foundation provides many resources, one of them specifically aiding college students, “Ages 18 to 24 is one of our prime demographics,” said Vanderstad, “We specifically have a program called ‘It’s Real’ and it’s focused on college students and educating them on depression, mental illness and what to do if they’re worried about themselves or someone they know who may be having thoughts of suicide.”

Vanderdstad clarified that the foundation is not a crisis center, but that they do work closely with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and text-line (1-800-273-8255), and those resources are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to anyone who needs it.

Closer to home, College of the Desert also has resources for students to healthily cope with and prioritize their mental health. 

The Student Health and Wellness Center, located on the first floor of the Cravens Center on the main campus, is where students can go for any health issues, including mental health. 

A service offered by the Wellness Center includes face-to-face counseling by appointment. A therapist is always available on the main campus Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is free to students enrolled during the semester.

Health services are also offered at the Indio campus on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

More information on help hotlines is available on the center’s website under the Student Psychological Services tab. 

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, the Riverside County’s crisis and suicide prevention hotline is staffed with counselors available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 951-686-HELP(4357). They also have an option to text-chat on their website for those who prefer it.

COD campuses will be closed until April 30, 2020.