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Advice

CSU Channel Islands Nursing Students to Host Free Mental Health Fair in Oxnard

In March 2015, 50 CI nursing students transformed a junk-yard bound trailer into a mobile health clinic. It will be the site of their Fall mental health expo.
In March 2015, 50 CI nursing students transformed a junk-yard bound trailer into a mobile health clinic. It will be the site of their Fall mental health expo.  (CI photo)

Depression, anxiety, suicide, substance abuse and many other mental illnesses may go undiagnosed and untreated because sufferers worry how others will react.

After offering a free health fair in Oxnard in the spring, CSU Channel Islands nursing students decided it was also important to offer a fair aimed at mental health issues, especially when it comes to the stigma that still surrounds anything having to do with mental illness.

The St. Paul Family Life Center Mental Health Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, at the B. A. Huggins Outreach and Worship Center annex at 840 South G Street in Oxnard. The annex is also home to the nursing students’ free mobile health clinic where many low-income families receive free meals.

“Most of the people who are served at the annex are ethnic minority,” said Professor of Nursing LaSonya Davis-Smith, DNP. “Research shows mental health issues are highly stigmatized in these ethnic minority communities, so it goes underdiagnosed and undertreated.”

CI Nursing students are putting together the fair in partnership with the St. Paul Family Life C.O.P.I.N.G. (Community Outreach Providing Information for Networking and Growth). “The event is aiming to target the underserved Latino and African American population, but is free and open to Ventura County,” said CI Student Nurse and Mental Health Fair Student Coordinator Iran Rahbar.

The event will include speakers, information booths, snacks and beverages as well as an art therapy project for children. Spanish translators will be available.

“We wanted to find a way to engage children of all ages and have something that would be a permanent display at the annex,” Davis-Smith said. “So we’re going to have children do hand prints in a pattern on the wall. They’ll be able to see their name and their age. That way kids and adults can see art is one more way to get rid of stress, to clear your mind, just like dancing or music.”

Just as the health fair has become an annual event in the spring, Davis-Smith and the nursing students hope the mental health fair becomes an annual event in the fall.

For more information, visit http://www.spbcoxnard.org.

Kim Gregory is a communications specialist for CSU Channel Islands.

 
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