Department of Mental Health offers 24/7 assistance

By Edgar Rodriguez

“Do you need help or support?” After two suicides within two weeks of one another at East Los Angeles College, signs offering information were posted around the campus. The signs include the previous question along with a phone number to call if a student is in need of help. They can be seen along the stairwells at both parking structures, close to the sites of the recent deaths.

The organization behind the signs is the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (DMH).

The DMH offers a 24/7 hotline that assist people who are suffering with various mental health issues. The hotline is available for those who may be in the middle of a mental crisis, like suffering from severe depression or mental psychosis.

With the recent suicides on campus, the DMH hotline could be a useful tool for students suffering from suicidal thoughts. They believe that early intervention is the best way to prevent these kinds of tragedies. Students with potential harmful behavior could benefit from speaking to the operators who are standing by to assist them.

Upon calling the hotline, the operator can refer callers to an emergency mental health professional or offer information of health agencies that are nearby. Many ELAC students who come from underserved communities may not be aware of the services that are available to help them. The DMH website says that on average, more than 250,000 (Los Angeles) County residents of all ages are served every year.

As concerns on campus are raised about potential reoccurring issues associated with the suicides, these signs around campus can only help alleviate such concerns.  The signs don’t promise to help fix every problem but the DMH believe they may help offer guidance to students in need of help.

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