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Triton News

Organizations Come Together on Campus to Promote Mental Health

    Emilie Jenson, Public Information Office

Iowa Central and several area service agencies came together Wednesday afternoon to raise awareness about mental health.

The first ever “Slam the Stigma” event at Iowa Central, held in the Triton Café over the lunch hour, offered informational displays on the various services available in the region along with activities and prizes for students as they interacted with representatives from the organizations in attendance.

The idea for “Slam the Stigma” was first born from an event held at Clarion Goldfield Dows High School in 2022. That community was grieving the loss of a young student to suicide, and his family and local organizations banded together to hold a mental health awareness event during a high school basketball game that winter.

“Many of us attended the Clarion event with resources and we just thought it was awesome to see so many mental health organizations come together,” said Regina Suhrbier, outreach coordinator at Community Health Center of Fort Dodge, one of the event organizers. “We wanted to see similar events happen in other communities.”

In addition to Iowa Central, several similar events have taken place this school year at area schools such as Fort Dodge, Saint Edmond, Clarion, Eagle Grove, South Central Calhoun and Webster City.

The event came to Iowa Central as it was the goal of the Suicide Prevention Coalition for Hamilton, Webster and Wright Counties’ Education Committee, which Campus Nurse Amber Graves and Campus Mental Health Counselor Tierra Smith are members of, to hold as many of the events in area schools as possible this year.  

The events are meant to bring awareness to mental health and to help end the negative stigmas associated with it, as well as to let people know there are resources and help available when needed.

“It is often said that there is a shortage of mental health services,” Suhrbier said. “That might keep some people from seeking help because they think it will be difficult to find. We want them to know there are resources available for mental health in the area and that getting help is not so hard when they can see us all here in one place.”

At Iowa Central, students have access to mental healthcare and counseling through the Campus Health Center. Iowa Central added Smith, a licensed social worker/mental health counselor to the Health Center staff in 2023. Smith provides counseling and a variety of therapy techniques to students at no cost, both in person at the heath center and through virtual sessions.

“I meet with students for as much time as needed, there are no session limits,” said Smith. “Sessions are pretty laid back because we want to be accessible and approachable.”

Students can request appointments for counseling sessions via the online portal Triton Pass. Staff and instructors may also make referrals through the Triton Pass concern form and Health Center staff will reach out to referred students. BetterMynd, an online teletherapy program which provides free counseling sessions and online workshops is also accessible to students through Triton Pass.

“We can provide services for both on-campus and online students,” said Smith. “I can work with off campus students in the State of Iowa, and we can set up out of state online students through BetterMynd; we want to be accessible and provide services to all of our students.”

A Mental Health Support Group also meets on Mondays at noon in the Student Resource Center.

Resources in attendance at Iowa Central included Community Health Center of Fort Dodge, Webster County Public Health, Community and Family Resources, Iowa State University Extension, Crisis Intervention Service, YWCA of Fort Dodge, Unity Point Health Fort Dodge/Berryhill Center, Veteran’s Administration, Grace Counseling and the Suicide Prevention Coalition for Hamilton, Webster and Wright Counties.



Organizations Come Together on Campus to Promote Mental Health

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