Mental Health Awareness Day educates BC students

Stephen Underwood, Reporter

Bakersfield College held a Mental Health Awareness event on campus on Oct. 27.

Multiple tables were set up in front of the Student Career Center and nearby sidewalk with the intent of providing services and educating students about mental health, including who, what, when, where, why and how it affects people and surroundings. Tables set up included reps from Kern County Vets Service Department, Kern County Mental Health, Aging and Adult, Bakersfield College Disabled Students Program and Services, some job placement programs and organizations, housing programs and organizations and Wounded Heroes, which does multiple events every year.

“A mental illness is a psychiatric illness that causes inefficiency to deal with life, and it can involve emotions,” said Kern County Mental Health representative Victoria Synder. Synder also said, “Kern’s one of the first services in the state of California, we provide fliers and ads for education and employment services, and we do coaching for getting jobs and interviews.”

Kern County Mental Health rep Lisa Rodriguez said, “Victoria has been working for Kern County Mental Health for nine years, I’ve been working for them for 16 and a half years, and the organization has been around for 22 years.” Rodriguez additionally says, “Although we don’t legally represent anyone with mental illness, Independent Living helps in the event that anyone with mental illness is rejected during proceedings. They help with appeals.”

Aging and Adult, however, does handle legal matters involving the mentally ill. “We do investigations and handle reports. This can be from anyone with mental, emotional, financial, or just about any type of health issue,” explained Marilee McVey.

Besides outside organizations and programs appearing at Mental Health Awareness, Bakersfield College Disabled Students Program and Services pitched camp too, and they do accommodations for disabled college students through applications and verification from health professionals. Director Terry Goldstein said, “We do accommodations on an individual basis, which includes testing and better environments. Over 1,000 students are verified that we know of.”

This is the second annual event for Bakersfield College Disabled Students Program and Services. They also handle individual cases at the Delano campus.