Workshop showcases programs to aid students, mental health

By Leonardo Cervantes

The Behavioral Intervention Team brought awareness to students about its services and mental health programs available for students during a workshop on Tuesday. 

According to the ELAC website, BIT was created to handle student behavior reports, determine if a situation is threatening and assist the campus to prevent escalation of disciplinary action or academic risks.

The ELAC website also states that, “Faculty and staff can reach out to BIT when:

Students are not responsive to online classes, project due dates, or are repeatedly missing scheduled meetings/classes via Zoom, etc. and there is a concern for the student’s well-being.

Students demonstrate any worrisome, inappropriate, or out-of-the-ordinary behavior.

Students reveal that they are depressed, overly stressed, or otherwise in need of mental health support.

Students reveal that they are homeless, food insecure, or survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault.

Students engage in cyber-bullying, sexual harassment, etc.

Student writings convey clear intentions to harm self or others.

Students post threatening online content on any social media.

Students need support due to the loss or illness of a family member/friend.”

In order to file a BIT report, visit the ELAC website under the student services tab. Then click on Student Health Center. Once the student is in the Health Center, click on the Support Center. Next, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, there will be a link to the BIT referral form. 

Students submit the report then the BIT team acknowledges the report and then reaches out to the student or instructor. Then the BIT team meets and develops a plan of action. Throughout the process, the BIT team follows up with the referring party like the Student Health Center.

Student health center coordinator Nay Nay Kyin said a student is assessed during a first meeting with a therapist at the center. 

Kyin said the therapist gets to know the student for about an hour. Once the assessment is completed, a plan is determined for the student. Depending on the plan, the student might meet with the same therapist anywhere between five to eight more sessions.

Students are also able to meet with therapists online or call. 

For short-term services, the therapist would focus on how the student’s life and mental health can be improved through problem-solving, coping skills and managing stress.

“Long-term services are treatment plans for students to understand the impact of past experiences that happened in their lives that are changing their current behavior. These treatments include traumas, and chronic and severe symptoms. For long-term referrals and services, we refer students to work with the Department of Mental Health,” Kyin said. 

These services might include how to treat traumatic experiences from the past and psychiatric medication if needed. 

The STAND program is a confidential support program that’s free for most ELAC students. It is virtual and confidential. It has an age requirement for students ages 18-40 years old. Students can access the program on any phone, computer or tablet. The program takes about six to eight weeks to complete.

“Based on the assessment students are grouped on to different tiers. The first tier is like Canvas, students can work on their school assignments. Students log in on a weekly basis, do different activities and answer some questions. 

“In the second tier, students communicate with a coach. Most coaches are students who previously attended ELAC or past students who were trained to become coaches,” ELAC success coach Areli Vargas said.

The third tier is for students who need to speak with a clinician and may also qualify for medication. Upon completion of the program, students might be able to receive $275. 

“We also have students who are part of our international student community on the team. Any time we get referrals, we check if the student is an international student or a DSPS student. If the student is already tied into our services on campus, we want to make sure the student is taking advantage of everything that is offered. If not, we are connecting them with (the relevant) representative,” Lopez said.

While the BIT team connects students in need of help to many resources, it is important to remember that they are not a crisis response team. 

For immediate and threatening emergencies on campus, students are encouraged to call the Sheriff’s office. The Monterey Park campus sheriffs’ number is 323-265-8800. The South Gate campus sheriffs’ number is 323-357-6200.

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