LWGRC to Host Mental Health Training Session

By Alexandrea Velez, Contributor

The Lasallian Women and Gender Resource Center is hosting a mental health training event to better equip students to identify and assist with mental health-related situations. 

This is the first Mental Health First Aid training course that is being provided to MC, and it is being planned to run once a semester yearly. 

Alixandria James, an intern in the center majoring in public health, is running the event. She was trained by the New York-Presbyterian supervisors in the summer of 2021. 

“I think the school needs to put more resources towards addressing mental health on campus. More conversations need to be had, and different departments on campus need to come together to push forward a more unified agenda,” James said.  

The mental health first aid course is five hours long and will help the students identify, respond and understand the signs of mental health crisis. This program will also identify issues with substance abuse disorder, which start the most in college years.

The main skill that will be learned during the session is training students with the skill to reach out for help, and how to provide initial support to individuals starting to develop early-onset symptoms. 

“Since the pandemic has proven to be very difficult on peoples’ mental health, my supervisors and I at the LWGRC thought this would be a great way to build awareness on different mental illnesses, as well as how to recognize them in the people we are closest to,” continued James. 

Since mental health is often overlooked, many people don’t get to take advantage of existing mental health resources. 

Rachel Cirelli, the director of the Center for Career Development and a co-director of the LWGRC, is helping James run the event.

“We have an image of what anxiety looks like and it’s not always correct,” Cirelli said. “So I think to best serve our communities, and just make sure that crises don’t escalate into mental health crises, I think that training is a good way to go about it. And I know you know, again, there are so many different ways to address mental health, but I think this is like training and, and being able to help without [necessarily being] a service provider like a psychologist.”

The training that will occur this month has a cap of 30 people, and there is currently a waiting list. Before the students can attend the training they must complete a two-hour pre-training on their own. 

After the two-hour training, along with the five-hour training on campus, the students will be able to receive a certification for three years. This certification will let the students be first responders to mental health crises. 

Cailin Lambe, a junior and a communication major with a concentration in public relations, will be in attendance at the mental health training session.

“Mental health training is extremely important because it is something that is often overlooked. Mental health affects every other aspect of life and now more than ever based on the recent events that have occurred on campus, that is a wake-up call for everyone to support each other and make sure one another is doing okay,” Lambe said.

Due to recent events occurring on campus, the mental health training will be dedicated to Christian Gallante, a junior at Manhattan College who recently died. Brother Ralph Bucci, who will be taking part in the mental health training, will be saying a prayer in his memory.