Valley community colleges offer free mental health services

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Valley community colleges are taking steps to promote good mental health among their students by offering free counseling sessions.

At the height of the semester, administrators at Fresno City College said they were receiving an average of more than 50 new requests for mental health services per week. This is in addition to walk-in crisis sessions.

They say the demand for these services has only increased since COVID-19 and they want students to know that more help is available.

Mariam Elsayed is a student at Clovis Community College and president of the school’s Active Minds club.

“Our goal is to change the conversation about mental health, to end the stigma,” Elsayed said.

Mariam says the pandemic and remote learning helped her realize it was time to make mental health a priority, so she decided to make some changes.

“I started worrying about my own metal health a few years ago,” Elsayed said. “I noticed an improvement in my happiness and my connection to everything around me.”

Now back on campus, she is determined to help other students do the same.

“It’s all connected,” Elsayed said. “When your mind is affected, it can affect your academia, your body, your social life.”

The State Center Community College District offers a variety of free mental health services, including counseling sessions and assessments.

“We offer students individual, couple, and multiple group therapy options,” said Fresno City College Psychological Services Coordinator Samuel Montano.

Staff members hope to help students overcome the challenges they face.

“Breakups, family relationships, serious mental health issues,” said Clovis Community College Psychological Services Coordinator Tabatha Stewart.

Helping students like Mariam navigate the college experience.

“Talk to people, don’t sit around with secrets because help is out there,” Stewart added. “You don’t need to struggle.”

Support is available to all State Center Community College District students. If you are a Clovis Community College, students visit their website. If you are a Fresno City College student, visit their website. Services are also available at Reedley College and Madera Community College.

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