Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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It’s the Little Things that Matter

Student+write+down+what+she+is+most+proud+of+at+the+celebration+station.+Photo+credit%3A+Ifeoma+Utom
Ifeoma Utom
Student write down what she is most proud of at the celebration station. Photo credit: Ifeoma Utom

Wednesday, Jan. 10, the mental health services of Cerritos College hosted the Little Things for Mental Health event, ushering in the new semester for students to help cope and tend to their well-being.

Planted in the library entrance sidewalk, students were able to walk up from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and participate in five stations dedicated to mental health.

The stations involved gratitude, mindfulness, celebration, safety plan, and honesty.

All five stations were designed to help students promote mindful eating, learn about suicide prevention, gratefulness, being as candid as possible with their feelings, and commemorate all their wins, personal or general.

A safe space, in the midst of heading to classes, was created for students to naturally discuss mental health challenges all while giving tips, celebrating milestones, and releasing any first-week jitters.

“It’s one of our priorities for the mental health services, to encourage students, especially in this first week of them coming back with discussing mental health and introducing the services we provide” Kimberly Esquivel-Urizal, MSW intern said.

The consent flow of students stopping by and participating in the stations produced a tangible energy of liveliness highlighting student engagement and the need for outlets such as this.

“We’re promoting wellness, a lot of times students have so many things going on and feel so overwhelmed,” German Escobar, MSW intern said, “ but we are showing them that they are supported and we are here for them.”

Escobar goes on to say the bridge the department is trying to build is between them and students.

Therefore when students enter the center, he said, they are met with familiarity that promotes a level of comfort in order to encourage ease and less intimation in partaking in services.

At the end of the 5 stations of mental health wellness, students could say aloud what they are most proud of themselves for and celebrate with a pop of confetti at the end.

Anna-Lynn Hernandez, a sociology major, said it felt good to state what she was proud of, mentioning how 2023 wasn’t her best year.

“I struggled a lot last year,” Hernandez said, “ not just with school but a lot of personal things, with stuff just not, you know, going as planned. But I’m proud of myself overcoming that, you know, and popping that confetti over my head was fun, it felt good,”

The stations were conducted by MSW interns, and licensed therapists for the school, and had sign language interpreters there to aid in making sure all students who wanted to participate were able to.

As the department encourages students to participate in these activities and seek help at their facility, Bernadette Reyes, licensed therapist, recognizes how terrifying it can be to say you need help.

“We try to be as approachable as possible, cause it’s really scary just talking to a stranger about your struggles, but that’s also the benefit of it.” Reyes said. “ A non-judgemental space where this person who doesn’t know you and doesn’t know your family can provide a safe and confidential space and all that is really important.”

Reyes mentions how asking for help can be hard so the mental health services places no shame in however long it takes for a student to get to that point. She said her team is ready and will be there when that time comes.

Currently enrolled Cerritos College students are welcome to visit or call Student Health to schedule an initial appointment to utilize the mental health services at (562) 860-2451 Ext. 2321 (press option 3)

 

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About the Contributor
Ifeoma Utom, Co-News Editor
Ifeoma Utom is the co-news editor for Talon Marks covering all things news related on Cerritos College campus. When she is not news reporting, Ifeoma loves to enjoy a nice book to read or hanging out with her friends. She writes poetry in her spare time and enjoys the fine arts of opera and ballet. Ifeoma will graduate this spring semester and plans to take some time off to travel and explore what the world has to offer.
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