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PJC Students Hosting Mental Health Awareness Forum

PJC students hosting mental health awareness forum

Each year the Beta Zeta chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the two-year college honor society, chooses an ‘Honors in Action’ project to work on. Their work led to joining with PJC’s Student Government Association to host a Mental Health: Suicide Awareness Forum on Thursday that is free and open to the public.

“We learned that mental health is a major issue on campus and how college students interact with each other can have effects,” said Beta Zeta president Jayla Oldfield. “After doing research, we found that suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students.”

The forum will include mental health specialists Ryan Cooper, Ph.D.; Linny de la Peña; Mrs. Kathy Floyd, LPC; and Mrs. Ronikaye Rusak, LPC. Cooper is with Psychology Professionals of Northeast Texas and focuses on forensic psychology and neuropsychology. Floyd is with the Paris Counseling Center and Rusak is with the Counseling Professionals of Northeast Texas; both provide counseling to children, adults and couple. De la Peña is Campus Counselor for PJC.

The forum is part of PTK’s Awareness Week and the organization is hosting other campus activities: Motivational Monday where PTK members will give out encouragement and positive messages to fellow students; Terrific Tuesday with arts and crafts; and Wonderful Wednesday with mindfulness games encouraging participants to get to know each other.

“There’s not really a stigma around anxiety and depression,” said Oldfield, “but there is still a big stigma around suicide and people don’t want to talk about it and admit they are having these thoughts and feelings. So we’re trying to get the word out to help break the stigma around campus and let people know that it’s okay to talk and get help.”

The free forum will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in Room 101 of the Math and Science building on Thursday, Sept. 26, at the PJC Campus, 2400 Clarksville Street. For more information about the forum, please call 903-782-0433.