FCC partners with National Alliance on Mental Illness to host a Mental Health Presentation

Photo+courtesy+of++NAMI+Fresno%27s+%22Ending+the+Silence%22+eventbrite+webpage.+

Photo courtesy of NAMI Fresno’s “Ending the Silence” eventbrite webpage.

Story By: Matthew Menchaca, Reporter

Fresno City College’s Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS) partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to inform students about the importance of mental health. 

NAMI hosted a virtual presentation titled “Ending the Silence” on Oct. 5 from 1-2 p.m. This presentation was free and was aimed at middle school and high school students, as well as college students.

NAMI and DSPS hope that by attending the event, students can better understand and recognize mental illness. During the presentation, students learned about the indicators and symptoms of mental illness. They were also given tips and ideas on how to help themselves, friends, family or strangers who may need mental health support.

Through their presentation, NAMI wants to help change stereotypes and perceptions by describing the reality of what it is like to live with a mental illness. In order to do so, NAMI is trying to replace the negative feelings associated with mental illness like fear, judgement and misunderstanding with awareness, empathy and acceptance. 

Dr. Dee Masci of the FCC Psychological Services Office says that there are plenty of social stigmas around mental health and illness. Masci explains that the truth is many people deal with some kind of mental illness such as anxiety or depression. She wants people, especially students,  to know it is okay to reach out for help and urges students who want help for themselves, family members or a friend to reach out to FCC’s psychological services because “everyone is anxious and maybe everyone goes through low periods,” she says. 

FCC Psychological Services provides individual therapy and group therapy for any student that feels they need to get help. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FCC Psychological Services has been very creative in how they operate. Since FCC transitioned from in-person classes to remote learning in March, more students have been showing up to their group therapy and talk sessions than before, according to Masci. 

“Therapists want to have people thrive, not just survive,” says Masci. The Ending the Silence presentation is the first event in a month-long series of events celebrating Disability Awareness Month. 

Pam Tibbett of the FCC’s DSPS says the goal of this month is to “inform the campus community about the diverse experiences of people with disabilities and challenge assumptions to create a more inclusive campus.”