By Ryan Vermette | October 9, 2022 | Lynn Item
LYNN — With the mental health crisis on the rise across the country, especially amongst college students, North Shore Community College is taking steps to battle the issue head on this fall.
In a press release, Executive Director of External and Public Relations, Linda Brantley noted that in 2019, over 80 percent of college students felt overwhelmed and mentally exhausted and over 60 percent reported having overwhelming anxiety.
With many students now having feelings of anxiousness, hopelessness, and stress, NSCC has created resources for their students that focuses on addressing these issues and “to assist its students in the successful pursuit of their academic goals”
The community college’s plan involves three main resources. The first being the creation of a Mental Health and Wellness Department that will be headed by a licensed mental health counselor with their official title being the Director of Wellness and Mental Health Services. The director’s duties would include overseeing the school’s student mental health/wellness and educational programs. The director of the department would be overseen by the Dean of Students.
Secondly, NSCC has partnered with Lifeworks/MyStudentSupport (MySSP) in order to provide students with 24/7 mental health and wellness services that will be available through telehealth. The services will be completely confidential to students and it will be available in a number of different languages including English, Mandarin and Cantonese, Spanish, and French. There has also been an NSCC app created through Lifeworks that connects students with Masters-level counselors to help them with the numerous challenges that they face while in school.
Lastly, the school is also working with Mental Health First Aid in order for employee volunteers to be trained and become a certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor. By doing this, volunteers who become fully trained will now be able to train other employees in order to increase awareness and teach skills related to dealing with mental health concerns.
Brantley says that while the resources are largely focused on the mental health aspect, they are there for other student needs too.
“It’s not just the mental health issue, it’s food insecurity, transportation, and not being able to pay their bills,” she said. “We’ve kind of shifted our focus to doing a whole wrap-around series of resources for our students because we know that is what’s going to help them to succeed in college.”
With the installment of these resources, NSCC hopes to help flip the script on the national mental health crisis that the U.S has been dealing with since the start of the pandemic as they try to help their students achieve and maintain better mental health as they pursue an education. All of the resources are currently available for students and Brantley hopes that it continues to grow and has more students using them in the future.
“There were like 10 students who used it in the first month, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but I think it’s going to grow,” she said. “We can only hope our students are really going to take advantage of the resources that we have made available.”