On what otherwise would have been a routine Friday morning, students buzzed around the 2700 building at Imperial Valley College on Oct. 12 attending
the World Mental Health Day Summit.
Dozens of vendors set up booths, among them Imperial County Behavioral Health Services and LGBT support. The event was a joint effort between IVC and Behavioral Health.
“I think it’s really good that support is shown for these issues, and that they show people with these issues that there is hope and support available,” said IVC student Christian Queriapa, while attending the event.
The summit was held in conjunction with World Mental Health Day organized by the World Health Organization. It is recognized every year on Oct. 10 “with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health,” according to the website who.int.
Through the various agencies represented at the event, various talks and workshops were offered for members of all age groups using classrooms around the college. Speakers included the resource navigator of the “Each Mind Matters” campaign, Rosio Pedroso.
“I’m here to encourage awareness and reduce the stigma around mental health issues. We’re looking to hear from students and support them as they learn about mental health, and to change the conversation about said health and suicide prevention,” said Rosio right before stepping up to the podium.
The WHO website lists “Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World” as a leading theme of the 2018 mental health day.
Local high schools sent busloads of students to attend. To that end, the organizers offered a free lunch to any student with the proper wristband, which was given to all students who checked in with the registration desk.
Attendees were also treated to live music by “The Superstars” band, led by Sergio Argoti, and comprised of members who suffer from light to severe mental health problems.
“This event is a cooperation between the community and the hosts,” said Scott Dudley, a Behavioral Health staff member and manager of the Center for Clinical Training.
He continued, “Every agency in the community relating to mental health is present today. We’re really reaching out to the youth today most of all. Today is really a day to look in each other’s eyes and say that we care and matter. I hope that mindset is also something people in attendance will translate into their everyday lives as well.”