Cal Poly's Health Center. Credit: File / Mustang News Credit: Carolyne Sysmans | Mustang News

In May, Campus Health and Wellbeing Counseling Services will begin hosting 50-minute or less Zoom webinars every Friday in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. Members of the Cal Poly community are able to attend the webinars anonymously. 

Counseling Services outreach coordinator and licensed psychologist Sarah Colwell said that the Zoom webinars are designed to be accessible and reduce barriers to support for the Cal Poly community. 

“We know that being able to easily access these webinars can be of benefit to many in the Cal Poly community, especially our students who we know are very stretched for time and experience high academic pressure,” Colwell said. “We are also specifically thinking about students who would be interested in learning skills but who may feel concerned about seeking mental health services or support.” 

Each webinar will be taught by a different counselor on different topics each Friday. 

According to Colwell, each webinar topic was chosen due to specific student requests or due to a response to common concerns that are seen at the Counseling Center. 

The first webinar will take place on May 5 with Colwell discussing test anxiety. Colwell will be teaching viewers coping skills and testing strategies that can be used to regulate anxiety.

During each of the webinars participants will also have a chance to take part in an anonymous Q&A.

Licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) Cheri Love and Noah Chalfin will be leading the next Webinar on May 12 at 1 p.m. teaching viewers about the Community Resiliency Model, which is about learning about common nervous system reactions to trauma and stress and the six core wellness skills to reset the nervous system’s natural balance.

Two webinars will be held on May 19 at 12 p.m. 

One will be on the topic of Loss, Grieving, and Mourning which will be led by licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC) Johneen Manno. During Manno’s webinar, she will talk about different types of loss and the grief and mourning processes.

The second webinar will be led by LMFT Amelia Ramirez and LPCC Shawna Dobson on Body Image and You, which will focus on self-body love and working on finding a better relationship with yourself.

The last webinar “See Something. Say Something. Do Something” will take place on May 26 at 11 a.m. and is led by licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) Amber Clemmons-Trigueros. The final webinar will teach participants how to better help a friend who is experiencing a mental health concern or crisis.  

Counseling Services began hosting the May Mental Health Friday in May 2022. The webinars received such a positive response and turn-out by students that Counseling Services has hosted a workshop each quarter since, and they also hope to make these seminars an officially quarterly event moving forward.

They are also working towards having companion pieces to the seminars such as, worksheets, outlines, reflection prompts, articles and more for students who prefer access to alternative forms of information. 

“It can feel uncomfortable coming into Counseling Services for the first time, not knowing who we are or if we’ll understand and be caring,” Colwell said. “I hope that if someone comes and spends some time with us in these seminars they’ll see that we are just people too and that we are here to support them if they would like some support.”