ASDVC proposes mental health care bill for community colleges

Ryan Chan, Staff member

Legislation to increase counseling opportunities for community college students suffering from stress and depression is being sent to the state student senate by an officer of the Associated Students of Diablo Valley College.

ASDVC Vice President of Legislative Affairs Kevin Tian helped research the resolution, which was written by ASDVC member Ana Doane. It will encourage all community colleges to establish mental health service programs and provide a minimum of 40 hours per week of qualified mental health counseling services for students.

“I was inspired to write this resolution because I am very passionate about mental health,” Doane said. “I feel that DVC has a need for mental health services on campus and I also feel that there are many schools in the California Community College system that have the same need.”

Almost half of those who stopped attending college due to mental health never had access to mental health services or programs, and according to a survey by the National Alliance on Mental Illness mentioned in the proposal, 64 percent of student dropouts surveyed are not attending college because of mental health related issues.

Tian stressed the lack of effective care on campus. He noted that in their research, 10 percent of college students are diagnosed with stress problems every year, and that suicide is the third leading cause of college student death.

“The reason why we want to pursue this resolution is that we realize mental health issues have been way underestimated in community colleges,”said Tian. “Although there are some mental health centers in some community colleges, or some counselors providing services, it’s still far behind what students need.”

The resolution will be put to the floor for debate by the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, which pursues policies for the betterment of students. The Student Senate will speak with elected officials to urge the passage of the bill. Doane is very hopeful about the proposal.

“I think the resolution has a pretty good chance at the SSCCC,” she said. “But of course, I cannot say for sure.”