Posted: May 31, 2015 | Written by Brooke Cary
As students walked through the Riverside City College Bookstore promenade on May 26, they passed booths such as Inland AIDS Project, RCC’s mental health awareness club Active Minds, Goodwin’s Organic Foods & Drink, and Hospitality Dental Group.
The promenade commotion this week was due to Wellness Week, sponsored by RCC’s Mental Health Peer Educators and Student Health and Psychological Services.
Wellness week centers on bringing awareness to Physical, Sexual, Spiritual and Recreational Wellness. Many of the booths represented organizations partnered with Mental Health Peer Educators, working to bring awareness and practical help for those suffering from physical, mental, spiritual or sexual illnesses, according to Rene Amaya, co-president of RCC’s mental health club, Active Minds.
One example of these partnered organizations is the Inland AIDS Project booth, where Registered Nurse Case-Manager Ju Yue and Social Work Case-Manager Griselda Gonzales offered information on HIV and AIDS services offered by IAP. “We are a nonprofit organization,” said Gonzales. “We are the only medical waiver that offers care for phase III patients. HIV and AIDS has four phases … Phase III AIDS forces people to stop working, since more of the symptoms show up.”
“We help by providing follow up for medical health management, we offer a caregiver for them, we have a social worker who will go to their home. We offer food vouchers, gas vouchers and other vouchers for financial issues,” Yue added.
Other booths included Valenta, an eating disorder clinic which provides help for individuals suffering from Anorexia, Bulimia or Binge-eating. Valenta’s outreach coordinator, Robin Gorder, recovered from Anorexia after high school and college, and works now by helping others who suffer from the same and similar disorders.
“In 1981, they didn’t have anything like this,” said Gorder, “on a typical college campus, 3-5 percent of people have bulimia, 0.1 percent have anorexia, and about 7 percent have binge-eating disorder.” Valenta offers two four-week programs over summer designed to help students increase their awareness of emotional, thought and behavior patterns that contribute to success in overcoming eating disorders.
Dental Health professionals were present at the event such as Robert Fraser, a dentist assistant and Darlene Korta from Hospitality Dental Group, encouraging students to check-up on cavities and remember to floss.
“We have doctors, nurses, over-the-counter meds we offer at no charge … health and psychological services are free as well,” said Heather Linares, a student aid with Mental Health Peer Educators, “It’s all paid for by student services, the fee you pay when you registered … so everything is free.”
Student Health and Psychological Services is located in the Bradshaw Building under the Bookstore. The program reaches many students who don’t have health care provided and also gives care for many students seeking counselors for various wellness issues.