Provost Named Honorary Chair of Mental Illness Awareness Walk

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– Shari McMahan, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Cal State San Bernardino, has been named the honorary chair of the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) Walk Inland Empire to be held in Hemet on Saturday, Oct. 26.

The Inland Empire walk will be held at the Diamond Valley Lake Marina, 2615 Angler Ave. Parking is $5. Check-in is at 8 a.m. The pre-walk start time is at 9 a.m. and the walk begins at 9:30 a.m.

Register at the NAMIWalks Inland Empire website. The Inland Empire walk is part of NAMIWalks, the largest and most successful mental health awareness and fundraising event in the country with nearly 100 community walks.

There is no registration fee, however, participants are encouraged to collect donations from family members, friends and co-workers, which can be done through the NAMIWalks website. Companies, organizations and families are encouraged to organize teams of walkers made up of employees, organization members, relatives and friends.

“I’m deeply honored to serve as NAMI honorary chair for the county of San Bernardino,” McMahan said. “The walk is so important in bringing vital attention to inform, educate and support people with mental illness and their families in the region.”

McMahan said the walk brings much needed attention to mental illness, especially at the college level, where students have been particularly affected, with studies showing that anxiety, depression and panic attacks are prompting students to seek mental health services in record numbers.

A recent report published in the Journal of American College Health, and also posted on NAMI’S website, shows that between 2009 and 2015 treatment and diagnoses of anxiety increased by nearly 6 percent among college students, followed by depression and panic attacks, which each increasing by about 3 percent.

Anxiety was cited as the most common condition, affecting nearly 15 percent of college students nationwide.

The provost said CSUSB has experienced that upward trend firsthand.

According to CSUSB’s National College Health Assessment Institutional Data Report in 2018, CSUSB students reported significant anxiety (62 percent) and/or depression (41 percent) in the past year. However, only a portion of these individuals sought treatment (17 percent for anxiety; 12 percent for depression).

In response, McMahan said the university has implemented a number of resources to support these students.

The CSUSB Counseling and Psychological Services Team, for example, provides one-on-one and group counseling to students and offers a number of related workshops throughout the year. And this academic year the CSU Chancellor’s Office will be rolling out a new training program, “I Can Help,” to all 23 campuses, which will help faculty and staff to identify students who are in need of emotional and/or mental health support.

For more information visit the NAMI website.

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