Shaw Center Offers Resources to MC Students Struggling with Mental Health


Brandan Buckner

The traditional college-aged student faces a transitional time in life. Often at an age where they are undertaking several new responsibilities as a young adult, many can find themselves overwhelmed and exhausted. These experiences can enhance a preexisting mental health condition or lead to the development of a new one, which can, in turn, affect academic performance and motivation.

If the transition itself was not enough to affect students’ mental health, now they have to face college responsibilities and a pandemic that completely changed their student life. Students often lack the mental energy to enjoy and perform with mandatory lockdowns and the shift from in-person to online classes. To investigate and better understand how students cope with these uncertain times, I spoke with two Montgomery College students.

Shelby Ball, age 23, is a broadcasting communication major at the Rockville campus. Ball believes that many students might be struggling with mental health during the pandemic, “People should also reach out to their friends, family, and loved ones because you never know who is struggling.” She also remembers how hard it was for her to fight with her mental health alone and how important it is to share and address it, “I’ve been through a lot of depression and anxiety, with suicidal thoughts since my youth. Not addressing it until over a decade later was very hard. So, now, mental health should come first in my life.”

Hollis Zimmerman, age 24, is a Broadcast Communications major as well. Zimmerman has also dealt with mental health issues, and for him having a therapist to share his struggles is crucial, “I call it a tune-up, every time that I have a mental health issue, I always go see my therapist for at least four different sessions, where we discuss problems and some resolutions to work and improve upon gradually.” He also suggests that students can find a hobby that interests them where they can really enjoy it to keep a healthy mind. For Zimmerman, the habit of sharing and talking about your problems can be incredibly beneficial, “If not with a therapist, students can also talk to their religious leaders to help give them direction in life and how to overcome their mental health issues, whether it be depression, suicide, stress, or any emotional issues. Or even a close friend or any family member take maybe can help them to come up with some solution.”

Montgomery College understands that mental health must also be included in the discussion when talking about student wellness. For that, the Montgomery College community is dedicated to promoting and fostering mental wellness. Through the Student Health and Wellness Center for Success (SHAW Center), Montgomery College aims to provide students with resources to support better mental health practices.

Since March 23rd, the SHAW Center is providing mental health and wellness support sessions for students while the college continues to operate remotely. Students interested in attending one of these sessions should see the list of dates and times below:

Support Groups
To provide our students additional mental health support, we are offering no-cost to participant groups lead by Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor Cedric Rashaw.

Mondays and Thursdays from 6:00-7:00 pm
Register here to participate.

Mindful Mondays
Join us every Monday from 12-12:15 pm from February 1 through May 3, 2021, for a 15-minute mindfulness meditation via videoconference to take a break in your day and recenter yourself.

“Enjoy Life Responsibly” Alcohol Safety Workshop
Alcohol is a major part of American college culture- it’s something we hear about on the news, see in movies and tv, and may have participated in ourselves at some point. Rather than moralizing or telling you never to have any alcohol, this workshop will be an exploration of how to use alcohol safely if you do choose to drink.

Thursday, April 8, 2021 from 1:00-2:00pm

Mental Health First Aid for Students
The Student Health and Wellness (SHaW) Center for Success is excited to be partnering with the Montgomery County community mental health association, EveryMind, to offer this class to students at no cost. The course begins with approximately 2 hours of content that participants must view prior to the training. Then a live Zoom training will take place on Friday, April 9, 2021, from 9:00 am until 4:30 pm.

Upon successful completion of the course, all participants will receive a 3-year Mental Health First Aid certification.

“Flying Under the Radar”
Join the Student Health and Wellness (SHaW) Center for an intimate look into one man’s struggle with depression, substance abuse, and the journey to recovery.

Pablo Campos grew up angry and frustrated. Lacking healthy coping skills, Pablo engaged in risk-taking behaviors including using and abusing substances, which led to an attempt to take his own life while in high school. After multiple stays at inpatient facilities for depression and addiction, with unsuccessful results, he learned he had undiagnosed ADHD. With a clear diagnosis and a treatment plan, Pablo has been in recovery since May of 2008 which he defines for himself as being free from drug and alcohol use while maintaining stable and strong mental health. He talks about how stigma, cultural norms, and a lack of education affected him and how through help-seeking, education, and a strong support network he has grown from being his own worst enemy to a powerful participant in his recovery. Today, Pablo is a licensed clinical social worker and mental health speaker for Active Minds.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021, from 3-4 pm

Managing Stress with Mindfulness
As the semester draws to a close, it’s more important than ever to manage stress levels. Mindfulness is an easy and non-judgmental tool that can be implemented in only 5 minutes but can also be used for longer periods of meditation. Join our workshop to learn about how to use mindfulness to manage your end-of-semester stress.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021 from 3:00-4:00pm

For questions, please contact the MC SHaW Center at [email protected].

Mental health is an essential element to the success of a student’s wellbeing and academics. Prioritizing this factor can lead to less stress, better academics, and a more rounded personal life.