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The award-winning news site of Cosumnes River College

The Connection

The award-winning news site of Cosumnes River College

The Connection

Student mental health care highlighted in back-to-back events

Helen Harlan
A student writes an affirmation on the chalk walk at Tuesday’s mental health fair. The fair was followed by a lecture from Sacramento-based Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Adriana Rodriguez on Wednesday.

Cosumnes River College hosted a two-day event “Taking Care of Your Mental Health: A Community of Care” on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The event included a mental health fair and presentation hosted by the MI CASA Grant Project.

“This event is designed to create awareness about mental health resources on and off campus while highlighting various self-care approaches,” said Jose Gonzalez, Interim Director of HSI – MI CASA Grant Project. “We believe fostering a well-being culture is essential for everyone’s success and the Mental Health Resource Fair is a step toward achieving that goal.”

On Wednesday, the lecture “From Stress to Success: Mental Health Strategies for College Students” was held at noon in LRC 150 with guest speaker Adriana Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, a Sacramento-based Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, began the one-hour event by telling her life story.

“From the moment I was born, I was the smart one. Not the funny one, not the pretty one,” Rodriguez said as she stood before a multi-slide presentation outlining many aspects of mental health care.

She broke up the slide-show by interacting with the audience, using a mindful breathing moment, offering written and verbal exercises. All the elements of the presentation were designed to encourage the audience to speak openly about their own mental health care struggles.

Jaime Miguel Sales, 17, an undeclared major, raised his hand in response to the prompt “How comfortable do you feel discussing topics of mental health?”

“Family tells you to push through it,” Sales said. “It will go away. It’s just a phase.”

Rodriguez said that her struggles included her family’s fleeing of El Salvador when she was a small child, identifying as Queer in the LatinX community and being among the first few of her 53 first cousins to go to college.

She also used her own life experience to offer wisdom on bouncing back from mistakes, such as the time she got expelled from CSUS as an undergrad due to poor academic performance. 

“People that have a .98 GPA and get kicked out of Sac State, they still become therapists,” Rodriguez said. “A growth mindset means you can bounce back from mistakes.”

After the lecture, Antonette Duff, 30, a social and behavioral sciences major, spoke about take-aways from the event.

“You gotta take care of yourself. You can’t have that successful relationship, you can’t have that successful job just like (Rodriguez) talked about,” Duff said. “We gotta check in on ourselves if we are struggling.”

Duff works in home-care and as a certified nursing assistant while attending CRC and said she uses tools like meditation, self-help books and faith as her own self-care. 

“I stay prayed up. I believe in a higher power. I believe that in the end I have a purpose,” Duff said. “At the end of the day you got yourself. And if you’re not good you can’t be good to anyone else.” 

The fair took place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday at the walkway on the east entrance of the library.

More than a dozen on and off campus organizations attended, including the Veterans Resource Center, Asian Community Pacific Counseling, WEAVE and the Pride Center.

Many offered resources like counseling services, mindful journals, fidget spinners, stress balls, stickers and candy. One group, the national organization Lutheran Church Charities, brought a 5-year-old golden retriever named Micah, a certified comfort dog.

Some visitors wrote affirmations on a chalk walk at the entrance to the event.

Jamie Ngo, 19, a psychology major, wrote “you are made of love, light and pure bliss” in green and yellow chalk.

“I think it’s great that they are having an event like this,” Ngo said. “College students need something like this in our lives because it’s stressful to be a college student.”



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About the Contributor
Helen Harlan, News Editor
Helen Harlan is a News Editor for the Connection newspaper. She joined the Connection to see and hear how people feel about the world around them, and her goal is to build her portfolio as a journalist. She has an affinity for animals, conservationism and the classic sitcom Seinfeld.

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