EDITORIAL: Mental health is taken lightly by RCC

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A student waits outside of Riverside City College Student Psychological & Mental Health Services office, an office not accessible to students on a walk-in basis, and often requires weeks of waiting to get an appointment. (Stephen Day, Viewpoints)

A correction has been made to reflect the correct approximate number of students enrolled.

Riverside City College’s Mental Health Services needs to improve their responsiveness and availability to students.

Mental health is an important factor of student success in college. Despite this, RCC neglects this aspect of student services.

Of the 20,000 students enrolled, many have trouble accessing resources reportedly available on campus.

“A lot of their issues stem from (limited staff), nobody wants to wait to see somebody when they need help at that very moment,” Josue Acevedo, Inter-Council Club Representative for Active Minds, said.

He said that many students face roughly a two week long wait to meet with a psychiatrist from RCC. Acevedo also said many services are not portrayed clearly to students which can undermine how the service is for everyone.

“I was completely unaware that (Student Psychological & Mental Health Services) has the ability to provide services off campus via referrals. I had to find out through one of the psychiatrists,” Acevedo said.

They should be transparent with their resources and try improving communication with students.

Despite multiple attempts to contact student health services, they were unable to comment. Viewpoints editorial staff were bounced from person to person.

We first called the student service through their office phone and were bounced around until a specialist advised us to email Renee Martin-Thornton, director of Student Psychological & Mental Health Services.  Martin-Thornton did not respond, instead, Mary Rankin, supervisor of Student Mental Health Services emailed Viewpoints in response to our inquiry to Martin-Thorton.

Both were unable to be reached for an interview and we were redirected to the cell for the student services. Further inquiries were not acknowledged or responded to by either party. Ironically, they are quite active in student-oriented health and mental health events on campus.

According to Reese Druckenmiller, a clinical social worker in psychiatry and psychology,  depression and anxiety are two of the leading mental health issues plaguing college students. Academics will experience a sharp decline, motivation will decrease and drive for social interaction will stifle without adequate support.

At an RCC Active Minds club meeting, a representative for the campus health services explained one of their biggest issues is the location of the office. They advocated for students to voice their concerns to the college to have it relocated.

Location is indeed a significant issue. 

Many of the other student resources like Student Financial Services, Counseling Department and Disability Resource Center can easily be found. However, the location of Student Psychological and Mental Health Services is obscure and can only be seen by peering down a flight of stairs. 

Despite location, the automatic doors at the entrance only open if someone inside lets you in. Viewpoints editors have attempted to access the office on several occasions without any luck. 

The awkward location of this department in the Bradshaw Building has led many students to question where it is or if it is even open at times.  

Students are owed in depth explanations upon asking what the department has to offer on and off site. This was the goal of our failed attempts to obtain more information.

We should be able to easily access these resources rather than being turned down or ignored by those in charge of providing answers.

Student health services should also do a better job at advertising themselves here at RCC. As a student service, it is one of many essential supports students have. Despite this, the department undermines its importance. They do the bare minimum to help people out, it appears.

College can be stressful, but students should not have to go out of their way to mentally and emotionally support themselves because the designated department for campus mental health lacks transparency and communication.

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