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Depression screening at BC, mental health a top priority

Robin Shin

Members of BC MAPS inform BC students about the cause and effects of depression.

Daysi Meza, Reporter

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On Nov. 15, the Student Health and Wellness Center held an event on campus to screen students for depression by completing a brief screening questionnaire and speaking confidentially with a mental health professional.

The Bakersfield College Health Center had a total of 34 students completing the depression screening.  According to Nicolle Gomez, a BC Behavioral Health intern, students were experiencing stress related to school.

“Some students were disappointed in not meeting expectations set by themselves or family,” she pointed out. “Students are having difficult time concentrating, which is leading to poor academic performance.”

BC students have the opportunity to participate in this screening every year as the BC Health Center hosts the depression screening around October or November. According to Gomez, The overall results indicate that students were very satisfied with the event.  In fact, they were grateful about the help available at the Health Center.

“Each student who completed the depression screening was provided with community resources that met their specific needs,” stated Gomez.  Most students expressed they felt more at ease after speaking to the screener and knowing that help is available.”

Students who reported high levels of depression were immediately directed to the social worker Edie Warkentin, who is available Monday through Thursday at the Health Center.

Dealing with school, work and relationships may definitely be an overwhelming and stressful life transition that may lead college students to feel depressed.  In an effort to help students that are experiencing depressive symptoms, Gomez recommends the following:

“Get support; this plays a big role in lifting depression.  It can be difficult on your own to maintain perspective and sustain the effort required to overcome depression.  Reaching out to close family and friends can seem overwhelming, but these trusted individuals in your life care about you and want to help.  Join a support group.”

Furthermore, Gomez strongly encourages college students to do the following in order to avoid feeling depressed, “Focus on things and interests that make you happy.  Don’t isolate yourself,” she said.  “Get moving, walking about 30 minutes a day can improve one’s mood and reduce anxiety.  Use the counseling services that are available for free to all currently enrolled students.  Talk to your close friends and family.  Get involved in extracurricular activities.”

The Student Health and Wellness Center provides free medical and mental health services to currently enrolled students. Therefore, students who have concerns regarding depression or are experiencing alcohol/drug use, grief/loss or have sexual identity concerns can schedule an appointment for personal counseling.

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Depression screening at BC, mental health a top priority