American River College’s National Alliance for Mental Illness chapter joined the Life is Worth the Walk (LWW) club to debut a new website for mental health and community resources at a college hour on October 18.
Peg Scott, professor of psychology at ARC and advisor for NAMI on Campus, led the college hour along with Jeffrey Vandervort, a cognitive science major and the NAMI club president. The lecture contained details about mental health awareness and a website through the ARC homepage with resources for homeless students, women, LGBTQ+ community members, children and students with disabilities.
During her lecture, Scott said that the official launch date for the website is Oct. 31. It will contain a database of homeless shelter information, access to medical and mental health services and information about food pantries.
Scott invited Shamona Thompson Ross, a clerk from the behavioral and social sciences department, to share the story of Olabisi Akande, a homeless college student. According to Ross, Akande dreamed of becoming a nurse, but died before she could achieve her dream after she became homeless.
Ross said the event brings awareness to how homelessness, hunger and health play a factor in college students’ success. This awareness is as important for the college employees as it is for students, according to Ross.
“College students are aware of [homelessness] because they are living it,” Ross said. “It’s the administrators that need to become aware; they need to think about what’s going on.”
Madison Holsinger, secretary for NAMI on Campus and LWW, said the purpose of this event is to let students know that resources are there and that nobody has to feel alone.
The importance of the homeless shelter database, according to Holsinger, is for students in the same demographics to come together as a community.
“I understand there are things people don’t want to talk about and there are things people experience that they don’t ever want to live through again,” Holsinger said. “But just know there are physical human beings there, if you just need someone to just sit there, or help you find shelter if you need some place to stay that night.”
If students are in need of assistance before the website launches on Oct. 31, ask for mental health or community resources in the ARC Health Center, located in the admissions building.