Featured Organization: The 5C Mental Health Alliance

The 5C Mental Health Alliance (MHA) is a student-led organization that seeks to erase the stigma around mental illness at the Claremont Colleges. MHA’s primary mission this year is to promote student dialogue regarding mental illness throughout the 5Cs by facilitating panel discussions, inviting speakers, writing publications, and providing a safe space for students with mental health concerns.

This fall, events have included a “Therapy Myth-busters” panel discussion, which unraveled common misconceptions regarding the practice of therapy, and an “Exploring Mental Illness” screening, which educated students on different types of mental illnesses. MHA has also organized a student panel called “Students Speak!” where students from the 5C’s shared their personal experiences dealing with mental health issues in an effort to “humanize” mental health cases.

Along with encouraging healthy student discourse, MHA pursued additional resources for students in need of mental health services at the 5Cs.

“Part of what prompted me to broaden the mission to increase resources for treating mental illnesses on campus is because, at many of our meetings in the past, we have gotten complaints from people saying Monsour, in many cases, was overbooked or provided inadequate treatment.” MHA President Colin Belanger PO ’14 said.

Belanger said that MHA seeks to find as many ways as possible to meet the needs of students in distress by helping them find the right kind of support they need.

Expectations are high for students at the Claremont Colleges, and feeling stressed out and even overwhelmed is par for the course. Students can change how we deal with these expectations, however, by supporting an environment that fosters a healthy student population. By decreasing the stigma associated with mental illness and by increasing access to different treatments and services, 5C students can make a significant impact in how mental health concerns are viewed and addressed in our community.

“This [issue] concerns a lot of students on campus – I’d really like to see that change,” Belanger said.

The 5C Mental Health Alliance meets every Thursday at 7:00 P.M. in Smith Campus Center’s Room 212 at Pomona College. Find out more about MHA on their website and Facebook page. Inquiries can be sent to mhalliance5c@gmail.com

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