Partners seek to help students dealing with mental health issues
WYE MILLS - Chesapeake College and Corsica River Mental Health Services have expanded their partnership to assist the college’s students who are experiencing mental health challenges.
Officials of the college and Corsica River recently signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to provide students access to counseling, psychotherapy, crisis intervention and medication management, as appropriate. Both organizations have identified contact people to manage the relationship, according to officials involved with the relationship.
“We are pleased to continue our partnership with Corsica River Mental Health Services,” said Chesapeake College President Dr. Barbara Viniar, noting the partnership is now in its third year. “We appreciate Corsica River’s commitment to serving our community, with this partnership just one more example of that commitment.”
Corsica River Executive Director John Plaskon said the partnership with Chesapeake College helps his organization meet its mission.
“When there’s a need in the community, we always find ways to meet the need,” said Plaskon. “And we always try to seek out partnerships that address community needs.
“There are issues about students on campuses experiencing mental health crises that could be serious or catastrophic, and we want to try to do what we can to assist the college in identifying needs and providing assistance,” added Plaskon.
Two areas in which the partnership has expanded is CRMHS outreach to Chesapeake students and professional development for the college’s faculty.
CRMHS representatives will be speaking in General Psychology classes this fall at both the Wye Mills and Cambridge locations both to raise awareness about available services and de-stigmatize mental health issues.
“One of our objectives, which is in sync with the Mid-Shore Mental Health System, is to defeat stigma related to mental health conditions and meet the need for mental health treatment head on,” said Plaskon. “Outreach to increase the awareness around mental health needs leads to greater acceptance of people seeking services and helps them to access services wherever they need them.”
In addition, Corsica River will be providing a professional development session at Chesapeake’s faculty in-service in January. Paula Turner, Corsica River’s school-based mental health coordinator, will conduct the in-service, which will focus on CRMHS services available to students as well as spotting signs of students who may be experiencing mental health issues.
“Our goal is to educate students and faculty about what is available through Corsica River and the importance of dealing with mental health issues,” said Maureen Conlon, Chesapeake’s advising director and the college’s main contact with Corsica River.
Corsica River’s decision to open a Cambridge office has also increased that organization’s ability to help Chesapeake students who take their courses at the college’s Cambridge Center.
“We want to cast a broad net in our attempt to try to meet any unmet need for mental health services in our area,” explained Plaskon. “That’s why we’ve opened an office in Cambridge. There’s a need there and that happens to be the site of the college’s other campus.”
Dr. Viniar praised Corsica River’s commitment to addressing student needs on both campuses.
“Mental health issues are often one of the challenges facing college students trying to balance work, school and a wide range of other responsibilities,” said Dr. Viniar. “Corsica River’s commitment to aiding our students will help more students complete their education and expand their future options.”