Suicide is the second leading cause of
death among young people, age 15 to 24.
More than 20 veterans die by suicide
The statistics are startling, but Irvine
Valley College (IVC) is committed to preventing suicide by speaking a message
of hope to those struggling with depression. On October 17, the IVC community
gathered to raise awareness about mental health issues at the second annual
Walk of Hope.
“We are all here taking the first step to
preventing any more suicides,” said Nancy Montgomery, Assistant Dean, Health,
Wellness and Veterans Services in her opening remarks. “We need to know how to
respond with help and know what to do.”
According to IVC mental health provider
Stacy Lavino, the most common mental issue seen in the IVC Health and Wellness
Center is depression. This annual IVC event aims to bring attention to a
stigmatized topic, strengthen the community and energize efforts to save the
lives of our students, especially those who have served their country.
The morning’s program began with a greeting
from Nancy Montgomery, and included remarks from Assemblymember Matthew Harper, Vice President for Student Services Dr. Linda Fontanilla
and Lavino. The keynote address was delivered by the new Mental Health Provider
in the Health and Wellness Center, Dr. Debbie Hutchinson, who spoke poignantly
from personal experience on the point that it only takes one person to intervene and
save a life.
Following the program, the
over 100 attendees participated in a 1.4 mile walk around campus, marked by
posters sharing suicide statistics and offering information and resources on
how to identify suicide risk factors.
After the walk concluded, participants
had lunch and attended a resource fair with local community and mental health
agencies to provide educational materials and referrals.
“Each mind is unique, but very much not
alone in times of struggle,” said IVC student and ASG President, Matthew
Rosborough,. “Though stigma and silence may convince otherwise, mental health
affects each of us, and now more than ever we deserve an honest discussion of
healthfulness in both body and mind.”
IVC’s Health and Wellness Center offers
on-site counseling and referrals to outside agencies for those who need
assistance with mental health issues that require more in-depth treatment.
Counselors are available by appointment, Monday through Thursday, 9 am to 4 pm.