District gives student support

One-on-one help available

This past summer, the Contra College Community College District and JFK University’s Community Counseling Centers partnered to begin the Student Wellness Program for both Los Medanos’ Pittsburg and Brentwood’s campuses and Diablo Valley College students beginning in July.

The purpose of the program was explained in an e-mail sent out by Dean of Counseling and Student Support Jeffrey Benford at the end of June. The SWP is supposed to provide personal, crisis and wellness counseling. The therapist will “conduct and intake,” and afterward there will be an available 50-minute time slot for one-on-one sessions. Group sessions will also be made available.

“You work at LMC because you love to see students thrive, so if you experience a student that seems to be in distress, refer him/her to the Counseling Dept.,” said Benford in the email.

Computer Information Systems student Quentin Teal said having such a program on campus would benefit many.

“It’s a good thing. A support system like that would go a long way, especially in the social and emotional landscape of college,” he said.

In reference to the wellness counseling, which would assist students’ short-term therapeutic needs, Teal said that it’s a necessity but students might not want to seek help. “We stigmatize mental illness in this country,” he said. “In our society, they don’t want to deal with the ugly — only the good.”

This program is short-term however.

“In this pilot phase, we will assign one therapist to the Brentwood Center and one to the Pittsburg campus, each working one day a week,” said Benford.  “Although we will assess student needs and the impact of this pilot, we are already seeking additional funding to expand the SWP.”

Beford thanked LMC President Bob Kratochvil and CCC Vice President Tammeil Gilkerson for leading the inter-district Planning and Implementation Team. He expressed his gratitude toward Senior Dean Gail Newman, Counselor Luis Morales and Adjunct Counselor Jes Moniz as well.

“True, it’s on the student to take the initiative and engage the SWP,” said Bedford.” But it is on us to make evident that we authentically care.”

To schedule an appointment, visit counseling on the second floor of the Student Services Center or email [email protected]. Students can also get ahold of Counseling Assistant Carole Betz at 925-473-7449 (ext. 37459).

There are off campus services available as well. Students could also be referred to the Confidential Student Assistance Program, but only by referral. This program is for all students attending LMC, DVC and Contra Costa College. For more information, go to www.losmedanos.edu/accreditation/documents/CR.1-6MHNBrochure.pdf.