ASU brings mental health awareness to South Gate campus

HEALTH IS WEALTH—Members of the Associated Students Union with representatives from Student Health enter at the Mental Health Awareness Fair. Courtesy of Associated Students Union

By Omar Roa

 The Associated Students Union held their second Mental Health Awareness Fair on May 13  at the South Gate campus.

Representatives of various student health services including ELAC’s Student Health Center and the Basic Needs Center sponsored the event as sponsors. The Los Angeles county Sheriff’s Department Mental Evaluation Team also presented their services at the event.

ASU members hosted the event to help spread awareness of available student resources. The event had low attendence.

Rosalba Villalobos,  a coordinator of the ELAC Basic Needs Center, worked at the event as a representative of the main campus. She offered flyers advertising the many programs of the Basic Needs Center. 

“We urge students to seek us out. Issues pile up, and we want them to know we have their back – especially if they feel they can’t handle things on their own. The Basic Needs Center exists to help students, so please utilize us,” Villalobos said. 

The Basic Needs Center is located at F5-300 of the main campus. 

 ASU President Martin Romero and South Gate campus vice president Leslie Reynoso put toether the event. 

“It’s unfortunate that more students don’t engage with the events we hold,” Romero said, “We do our best to make sure students are aware of what they have available to them, but at the end of the day funding is what stops us from holding more events,” Romero said. 

Romero also said that the lack of members in ASU was another contributor to the small student turnout. The events are very hands-on, so a lack of members impacts the size and frequency of events. 

 Sitting beside Reynoso and co-hosting the event was Student Health Center coordinator Nay Nay Kyin. Kyin said that a priority of hers was to provide health and safety information to the students and was handing out flyers advertising services provided by the Student Health Center. 

Kyin said the events exist specifically to make students aware of the resources they have available to them. Even though the South Gate campus is small and moving to a new destination soon, she said it was worth holding an event for the few students that might pass by. 

 Non-ELAC groups attended the event to offer aid to students in need.

Deputy Sheriff Jeremy Mangahis represented the L.A. County Sheriff Department’s Mental Evaluation team: a crisis intervention service dedicated to assisting students in desperate need of mental health services. 

“Sometimes we get calls that require immediate dispatch. It’s not every day, but it happens. Most times it’s just a phone call though. Whoever’s on the other line will talk you through and figure out what you need, then help you get it. Those are the best-case scenarios,” Mangahis said. 

 Although the spring semester may be coming to an end, summer sessions will be starting soon, and these services will not cease. Any students requiring aid with mental health or basic living needs are heavily encouraged to utilize the resources available on campus. “It’s what your tuition pays for,” said Kyin.

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