News Release| Student Health Center; Cal State L.A.

Cal State L.A. to expand student mental health services 

Los Angeles, CA – The Student Health Center (SHC) at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) has recently been awarded a $113,000 California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) grant, as part of the California State University (CSU) Student Mental Health Initiative, to focus on suicide prevention strategies and mental health services for college students. 

The grant is one of several prevention and early intervention statewide initiatives funded by the Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63) and implemented by CalMHSA, an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities.

The CSU systemwide initiative aims to address the mental health needs of CSU students in collaboration with state and county services by developing curriculum and training, peer-to-peer support programs, and suicide prevention tools.

With CalMHSA funding, the SHC Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at CSULA will develop a campus-wide suicide prevention and response plan, to educate the campus community about mental health issues and risks, and establish a referral base of mental health resources within the community.

“One of our main efforts will be to engage the entire CSULA community in completing an online one-hour program on suicide prevention techniques,” explained psychologist Dr. Jonna Fries, CalMHSA project coordinator for CSULA. “Individuals who complete the program will be empowered to ‘question, persuade, and refer,’ encouraging those in need of suicide prevention services to seek help.” 

A decal will provide faculty and staff members who complete the training a way to represent CSULA as “a caring community.”

“To help students, we are planning to use the online mental health training, Kognito, in addition to in-person presentations and workshops by our CAPS counselors over the coming year,” said Dr. Fries. “It is important for us to intervene early on to help our students adjust, cope and succeed.”

According to a 2012 study by the American College Counseling Association, 39 percent of college students seeking help have severe psychological problems. The report also indicates an increase in crises among students in the past five years, and attributes depression as a leading cause for suicide attempts.

“With the stress of balancing the responsibilities of work, school and family, students can be so overwhelmed that it may lead to feelings of helplessness and depression,” said CSULA’s Dr. Monica Jazzabi, SHC director and CalMHSA program coordinator at CSULA. “We want students to know that counseling services are available and free to those who are currently enrolled.”

CAPS provide professional and confidential assistance geared toward students’ personal growth and psychological wellness. CAPS specializes in mental health services, which can help students express thoughts and feelings, gain perspective, alleviate emotional symptoms, improve coping skills, and make healthy life changes. For CAPS services: /univ/hlth_ctr/SHC_CAPS.php.

CalMHSA operates services and education programs on a statewide, regional and local basis. For more information, visit http://www.calmhsa.org/.

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Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 225,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six Colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to the Honors College for high-achieving students. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center. www.calstatela.edu