Mental health workshops provided for students at no cost

Stacie Norris, Reporter

Bakersfield College is now offering workshops in the mental health field to all current BC students free of charge.

These workshops, also known as Educate, Equip, Empower (or E3) will continue for the remainder of March and are facilitated by Natalia Hatley and Anabel Jimenez.

Currently both women are attending California State University Bakersfield and are soon to graduate with a master’s degree in social work.

One workshop held on March 18 focused on stress management.

The facilitators started the session by expressing how important it was to keep everything heard and seen for the next hour confidential.

“We want to create a safe place where participants can speak freely and not be worried about their business being spread around the campus,” said Hatley.  Once everyone agreed, the workshop began.

The facilitators asked everyone to stand and form a circle.

Jimenez would read a list of adjectives that one might feel when they were stressed about something.

If there was a word that applied to a participant, they were supposed to step into the middle of the circle.  For example, the first word on the list was insomnia.

If anyone suffered from insomnia brought on by stress, they would move to the middle of the circle.

The facilitator read about fifteen words that included over or under eating, crying, headaches, and anger.

At the completion of the list everyone brainstormed on different ways to overcome stress and its effects.  Everyone in the group spoke up on more than one occasion.

Some ideas the group had for coping with stress and the effects brought on by stress were exercising, meditating, and confronting the thing or person that is causing stress.

One participant, who cannot be named due to the confidential rule, said, “Sometimes when you confront that thing or person head-on, you will find that you were stressing for no reason.”

At the end of the workshop, the facilitators asked if anyone wanted to share anything that stood out for them.

“It felt good to see others step inside the circle because that let them know they were not alone,” one participant said.

The next workshop will be March 25, at 4p.m. in the library and the focus will be self-esteem.

The next workshop to follow will be April 1 at 4p.m. and will focus on personal boundaries.

Also, on Wednesday Apr. 3 from 9am – 3p.m. there will be a screening for depression and anxiety in the Levinson Hall room 40 (LEV40).

In addition to both Hatley and Jimenez facilitating workshops on the BC Campus, they’re also on the Delano Campus on Wednesday at 3:30p.m. in room 117.