Suicide Prevention Month comes to COC

Harmony Dust, author and founder of Treasures, shares her story of survival and struggles women encounter with about 300 people at College of the Canyons during the an information conference on human trafficking. Austin Dave/The Signal
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In honor of Suicide Prevention Month this September, College of the Canyons is hosting a mix of events and trainings in collaboration with community and campus partners throughout the next two weeks.

The five events occurring between Wednesday and Sept. 28 will touch on topics related to suicide prevention, drugs and alcohol abuse, human trafficking, sexual assault and a variety of other topics, according to Larry Schallert, assistant director for College of the Canyons’ student health and wellness and mental health program.

“We think it’s really important that we make students — as well as college faculty and staff —- aware that there are resources out there and they aren’t just at the Student Health and Wellness Center,” Schallert said, before describing the upcoming discussions, panels and roundtables.

  • Sexual Trauma — A Discussion Panel: A panel of experts will help the audience understand the impact of sexual trauma, its challenges and the process of recovery. They will also discuss resources that can help both students and the community move past their traumatic experiences. The discussion will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, in Room 307 of Bonelli Hall.
  • Voice for Recovery — A Discussion Panel: A panel discussion of experts who are familiar with the field of substance abuse will share their experiences along with people who are currently in recovery. The professional panel will include experts from Child and Family Center, the Sheriff’s Department J-Team and representatives from Real Life Church. A resource fair will take place prior to the event, and the panel will be open to any questions. A light dinner is also scheduled during the event, which will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, in Room 258 of the college’s University Center.
  • No Texting and Driving: This interactive health event aims to educate students about the dangers of texting and driving by having students try to drive remote control cars on a course while texting on their phones. The educational event is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at the college’s Valencia campus.
  • Human trafficking — It happens right here: Human trafficking survivor, author and consultant Kateriina Rosenblatt will serve as the keynote speaker during this year’s seminar, which will also feature panels of experts and local providers who seek to help the community better understand human trafficking and how one can make a difference. A light breakfast will be served and resource tables will be available from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 27. Residents are invited to register online at or by calling 661-255-7963.
  • Mental Health First Aid: Participants should expect to learn how to identify the risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems and how to respond appropriately. This free noncredit class can result in multiple certificates. It will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, in Room 102 of the Valencia campus’ East Physical Education building.

“All of these events address different aspects of mental health, emotional awareness and self-care,” Schallert said. “These are important subjects, so we’re inviting faculty, students, staff and the broader community to come out and learn a thing or two about the different topics.”

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