South Gate forms mental health program

By Joseph Recinos

East Los Angeles College in conjunction with J.A.D.E family services has joined forces to provide personal counseling and self-improvement workshops.

J.A.D.E is a well established non- profit organization that has been around since the 1970’s and provides various types of counseling services for the South Los Angeles area.

Dean of the South Gate Campus, Al Rios said that the effort to bring these mental health services to Elans began last year during a time of turmoil for many students after the shooting where an Elan died at Carl’s Jr., and after the drowning of another.

The mental health program is designed so any student can come and ask for help, not only in mental health, but any kind of counseling.

Some of the services include, anger management, alcohol and drug counseling and stress management.

Yet, sometimes the simplest thing can help someone, like a conversation, or some advice.

“Sometimes, they might just need someone to talk to. We’re here to give them the support they need,” Program Director Daniel Trigueros said.

Trigueros who has been a J.A.D.E counselor since 1981 also said, “Sometimes the students want help, but are afraid of coming in.”

While only a few students know about the services, even less come in and use them.

“In Latino culture (counseling) is a taboo, a sign of weakness, but it’s OK to vent. All of us have issues and struggle with problems. It is very normal to see a counselor,” Rios said.

According to Program Manager and Counselor Alicia Molina, students come in with different kind of problems.

“A lot of students are afraid or embarrassed, and some have a stigma or feel some negativity about counseling,” Molina said.

Because of this, the program is only working with about five to six clients at a time with a capacity to help more students Trigueros said.

The walls in the S.G. campus are plastered with announcements about the mental health services and faculty and staff are encouraged to invite students to these services.

The program which is still in its first strides is hoping to attract students who need help.

Students facing crises are not the only ones urged to attend. Those who might feel lonely, depressed, or are going through some tough times, and even Elans who need an open ear to talk to are also encouraged to attend.

“We welcome anyone with any problem they feel is overwhelming, we’re here to help with any problem. The doors are always open.” And for those who are scared or reluctant, “ the thing we hold with most importance is confidentiality,” Molina said.

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