Ask the Psychiatrist event comes back to COC for Mental Health Awareness Month

Assistant Director of Student Health & Wellness/Mental Health Program and chair of The Santa Clarita Valley Suicide Prevention, Postvention and Wellness Committee, Larry Schallert, talks during a discussion among committee members from different agencies at College of the Canyons in Valencia on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

College of the Canyons is hosting a question-and-answer session with a psychiatrist in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month.

The annual Ask the Psychiatrist event will be on May 9 from 6-7:30 p.m. in Canyons Hall, Room 211. Danit Bar Ziv, a psychiatrist from the county’s Santa Clarita Valley Mental Health Center, will be speaking.

Bar Ziv will answer all questions about mental health, medications, treatment options and diagnoses in an informal Q&A setting.

The event is open to the entire community and for students, family members, clients, faculty, staff and administration, said Larry Schallert, assistant director of COC’s Student Health and Wellness Center.

The event is part of COC’s lineup for Mental Health Awareness Month.

On the same day, the “Shine a Light” event will continue to light up the campus with lanterns for suicide awareness. The display will be up from May 8-9 at the Honor Grove.

On May 9, the Suicide Prevention Intervention and Response Training will be also held in room EPEK 101 from noon to 1:30 p.m. The session will help participants identify early warning signs of suicide and teach constructive ways to support loved ones or where to locate community resources.

On May 11, the college will also hold a “Mental Health First Aid” all-day course from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in room UCEN 258. Participants can learn to identify the risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems and will be awarded a certificate by the end of the day.A movie on human trafficking, “Stopping Traffic, a Movie on Human Trafficking,” will be shown on May 16 at 6 Hasley Hall Theater.

A “No Drinking and Driving” simulation will be on May 21 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Student Atrium, and a “Paws for Awhile” event with therapy dogs on May 16 on Cougar Way is also on the calendar, said Schallert.

The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance) recently released a new report, Recommended Standard Care for People with Suicide Risk: Making Health Care Suicide Safe. This report includes new recommendations on suicide-related standard health care for primary care, behavioral health, and emergency department settings. Around 64 percent of people who attempt suicide visit a doctor in the month before their attempt, according to the report.

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