By Rachel Marie
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – Some students have expressed concerns about the level of awareness of mental health issues and services at Camden County College.

“People, in general, don’t take it as serious as physical injuries,” said new student Bailey Keen.

Some students said they believe college officials do not take mental health situations seriously enough. However, Assistant Dean for Student Development and Support Jacqueline Tenuto said they do.

“In emergency situations, the county agents who work in the response team and the Department of Public Safety are trained and certified for mental health issues,” Tenuto said. “Although there are no actual counselors on campus, our services are strong and we can assist you in getting help from professionals.”

Camden County College has partnered with Oaks Integrated Care: Early Intervention Support Services to help students get immediate mental health treatment.

Besides the organizations with which the school has partnered, the college offers online sources to help students with mental health issues. The Camden County College website has a Mental Wellness Assistance page in the Stay Connected sidebar. The page contains a message to students stating, “Camden County College is concerned about every student’s well-being” and noting if it is a non-crisis situation, they should contact Tenuto or the Department of Public Safety. For an emergency or a crisis, the webpage lists numbers that students can call “24 hours a day, seven days a week” to get help. The list includes the New Jersey Hopeline, National Suicide Prevention Hotline, Crisis Text Line, Camden County College Office of Public Safety, and Crisis Screening Center.

Camden County College also provides students with a free online course, located on the WebStudy learning system and created by Camden County College staff and faculty. Finding Happiness and Success is described as a course that “helps students start setting goals and improve their outlook and their lives.” The course does not have grades but includes inspirational quotes, job-hunting guides and other materials to assist students during the semester. The course’s intention is described as “to be a bridge builder.”

Some students still wonder if the efforts are enough.

“For most people with mental illness, it’s an internal problem,” Keen said, noting many students suffer in silence and do not bring attention to the matter.

“Students nowadays prefer not to talk about their problems face to face. Actually, there was a mental wellness workshop last week that no one attended,” Tenuto stated. “The college should reach out to students through the student email, but if any students have problems, contact the campus and we will always find a way to help.”

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Students can access a free online course, Finding Happiness and Success. Photo by Rachel Marie, CCC Journalism Program

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