Students use art as a way to de-stress, express creativity

By Kimberly Chinchilla

Students decorated rocks to de-stress and connect with other students during the Kindness Rocks workshop at the South Gate Student Lounge on May 17.

The workshop was part of a series of Mental Health Awareness Month events by the South Gate Student Health Center and the Screening and Treatment for Anxiety and Depression program. 

STAND ambassador and coach Itchel ran the workshop.

Itxchel is an ELAC alumnus who now works with STAND to provide support for students struggling with mental health. 

Students shared experiences with each other about school, interests and life circumstances they face on a daily basis while they painted.

The students said the workshop was the perfect way for them to de-stress, especially with finals right around the corner.

The workshop was open to all students. Some students attended because of STAND and others attended for fun with friends.

Student Anthony Rodriguez said, “I am usually in the Student Lounge because I can’t be picked up until the afternoon. So I usually come here and that is how I found out about the event. I enjoy it.” 

STAND participant Danni Telles said, “Everyone struggles with mental health, that is why these events are needed.”

Telles painted a beautiful Hello Kitty design on her rock. Her rock art is a representation of her love for Hello Kitty and a positive keepsake of the workshop.

STAND is a confidential wellness program that students can participate in on campus or remotely. 

STAND is available online and students can easily access its services through a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. 

Participation in the program is free for most ELAC students.

Itxchel became a STAND coach while she was still a student attending ELAC. 

She went through rigorous training and became certified for the program. 

“STAND launched during the pandemic where registrations were low,” says Itchel. 

She said she attended classes in the South Gate campus and enjoyed the environment there. 

She said she reached out to STAND to express her interest in outreach and giving back to her community, particularly at the South Gate campus.

“I felt a lot of students didn’t know the program [then] because there wasn’t a lot of presence here in person,” said Itxchel. 

She said once students were able to return to campus, she got offered the position at the Monterey Park location.

However, Itxchel said her goal was to be at the South Gate campus.

 “I thought, what better place to be where I feel these sources are needed.

“I love being with the students, talking to them and learning about what they share with me,” said Itxchel.  

As an ambassador, Itxchel informs students about the program and lets them know what resources STAND offers. 

Itxchel said common questions students have asked are if they will qualify and what the process is like. 

She said, “I encourage everyone to apply, regardless of status, whether you have insurance.” 

Itxchel provides support with troubleshooting. 

She said an example of what she does is help participants troubleshoot their schedule to find time to complete the lessons provided by STAND when they feel they can’t find the time to do so.

“It’s a series of lessons that you get based on the survey. The longer ones are 8 weeks. 

“Those are participants in the worry, depression, and sleep package. The lesson is the therapy itself. My job is just to support,” says Itchel. 

Itxchel’s space is located in the South Gate campus right across the Student Lounge. 

She said students can always stop by and she can provide them with more information about about STAND resources and upcoming events.

“Most of the time students just want someone to listen and be there for them. I have skills I can use and offer support. 

“Mental health is a struggle and everyone’s needs are different,” said Itchel. 

In observance of Mental Health Awareness Month, STAND is hosting a Mental Health Fair today at the Monterey Campus, from 1:30-4 p.m. 

They are offering information on services and resources to promote mental health and wellness. 

Free food, giveaways and pet therapy will also be available. 

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