*This post was written by CSUCI student and Straight Up volunteer, Melanie House.
On Saturday, October 8th, Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin hosted a Mental Health Resource Fair at Moorpark College. The event was to promote mental health and emotional wellness by connecting local residents to services and resources that are available in our community. Not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised to see about a dozen or more tables representing many organizations in Ventura County.
I spoke with representatives from Engage Therapy and found out that they would be participating at the Straight Up Reality Party, later that day. I chatted with people from meditation centers, in and outpatient recovery facilities, neurofeedback treatment centers, and I learned about life after traumatic brain injuries. Did you know that in the month of October, if you paint one of your nails purple, that you are helping to spread awareness to end domestic violence?
What about Crisis Intervention Trained Law Enforcement? Turns out that our law enforcement (both police and sheriff departments here in Ventura County) all have officers that have been trained to de-escalate crisis situations; reduce the use of force, reduce the use of jail; and decrease recidivism all because of the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) in our area.
I found out that there is a wealth of therapy services for youth and adults here in our county, free of charge to the community that offer everything from Positive Parenting classes to suicide prevention, to anxiety and depression help and even empowerment groups. There are numerous resources for children and families, all in our own backyard. I never knew that there was a program in our county to help teach kids about protecting their bodies. Or that there are numerous services to help successfully lift families out of poverty.
I loved learning about the Pets for Vets program which brings togethers “man’s” best friend and our returning service members showing them both that they are not forgotten. Both the vets and the animals have been through traumatic events and this program helps them both heal.
Finally, I met David Tovar from Ventura County Behavioral Health and learned about all of the amazing alcohol and drug prevention programs VCBH helps to provide: including funding to Straight Up! I even signed up to take a Youth Mental Health First Aid training class, next month. It’s free of charge and open to anyone in the community that would like to learn about common mental disorders, warning signs and symptoms, effective approaches, and engagement using an Action Plan to provide assistance.