How to Make a Referral Page Added

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A new page has been added to our blog.  As part of our continuing effort to get information out to the public, you can now access instructions on making a referral to SSRT by clicking on the “Make a Referral” tab above.

This information has always been available by going through the portal on the college’s website.  Anyone who is a part of the college could do so.  However, parents, friends, co-workers, etc. may want to get help for someone who they know is a student at the college.  High school guidance counselors, after discussing options with their student, may want to let SSRT know that the student will be looking to make a connection once they matriculate to Montgomery County Community College.  The new student may want to contact SSRT.  Now all these people can follow these instructions and make a referral.  By adding this page we feel we have expanded our reach and provided more of an opportunity for our services to be utilized by our students.  We hope you will take a look at it and find it a positive addition.

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Bringing Attention to the Use and Abuse of Substances

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Probably everyone in America would agree that drug usage is widespread in our country.  When the subject of drug usage comes up, most of us may only be considering illicit drugs.  However, further consideration leads us to see that there is a huge part of our society also using prescription and over-the-counter drugs.  The use of substances, legal and illegal, has become pervasive in all aspects of our society.  As with just about anything from edible items to credit card usage to substances, the possibility of abusing something is very real.  Today we see people dependent upon illegal drugs, prescription drugs and also over-the-counter drugs.  On Tuesday, February 5, 2013, the Student Support & Referral Team (SSRT) is sponsoring three programs concerned with all of these.

“The Dangers & Consequences of Substance Use & Abuse” is the topic of a program that will be offered from 12:30 to 2 PM in the Community Room in South Hall at the West Campus.  Dickie Noles, former major league pitcher and presently the Employee Assistance Professional for the Philadelphia Phillies will be the speaker.  Later in the afternoon, Mr. Noles will meet with the Faculty at the West Campus to discuss recognizing the warning signs of substance use.  By being aware of the signs, we can be better prepared to refer students for help.

From 7 to 9 PM on the evening of February 5, a panel discussion entitled, “An Open Discussion of Substance Use & Abuse”,  will be held in the Community Room.  Open to the public, the participants on the panel will be Mr. Noles, Beth Folks, Clinical Coordinator at Eagleville Hospital, SGT Michael Markovich, Detective with the Pottstown Police Department, and Robert Frankil, Registered Pharmacist.  Mr. Frankil is the owner of both Skippack and Sellersville Pharmacies.

The programs are free.  Registration for the evening program will begin at 6:30 PM on February 5, 2013.  South Hall is located at 101 College Drive in Pottstown, PA.  For more information or to register ahead of time, please contact Michael Ondo, Counselor, at mondo@mc3.edu.

We hope you willl be able to attend this most informative evening.  please bring a friend and share this information with whomever you feel would benefit.

Something Positive From the Negative

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Columbine, Aurora, Tuscon, Virginia Tech and now Newtown will forever be linked together as places where the unimaginable happened.  Even though they are places where so much good happens everyday, from now on their mention will cause people to remember that something tragic took place there.  We should also remember however, that within all that horror, positive things happened too.

Unfortunately, there are far too many other places where tragedy has also taken place leaving us to wonder, “What is becoming of our society?” and “Why would someone do such a thing?”  These and other questions will, once again, become the catalysts for opinions about gun control, mental health issues, video games, movies, television, parenting and other issues.  While our society needs to work toward preventing and trying to end such horrific events, in this space, at this time, we recognize something positive that came out of what happened.  That positive is how people helped other people.

In spite of the impression that people will not help or care about others, once again, in the face of tremendous adversity, people helped other people.  Some helped people they did not even know.

Whether it was brave teachers who only cared about keeping children safe, EMTs doing what they could to save a life, police officers trying to stop what was happening, clergy and funeral directors helping families get through it all or counselors helping people cope with the aftermath, people helped each other.

In every incident that has taken place across our great country some people performed acts of heroism and some simply provided a hug.  Regardless, the acts were between two or more people.  And each act provided some amount of solace to another human being.  Each one was a person helping another person.  People do care about other people and that is something that is very positive.

(This post written by Michael Ondo, Counselor)

Mental Health Concerns Among College Students

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Most of us think of college as an exciting time of life.  It’s a time of new beginnings and of pursuing long-awaited hopes and dreams.  Indeed, college is a place where all these things can happen.  However, the demographic landscape of college and universities today presents a different picture than it did 10 years ago.

In addition to a student population that is much more diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, socio-economic background, and age, institutions of higher learning are also admitting students who are overwhelmed and more prone to mental health concerns than those of previous years.  That is to say, the number of college students with mental health disorders, whether diagnosed or not, has been increasing.  The American College Health Association (2012) reported the following from their most recent national survey:  31.6% of students felt so depressed that it was difficult to function within the last 12 months, 61.9% felt very sad, 86.8% felt overwhelmed by all they had to do, 46.5% felt things were hopeless, 51.3% felt overwhelming anxiety, and 7.5% seriously considered suicide.  This is not the “typical” picture that normally comes to mind when one thinks of the contemporary college student, but it is a realistic picture.

This situation has left many wondering what can be done to address mental health concerns among college students and make campuses nationwide healthier, happier communities.  Perhaps the best way to deal with this situation is a comprehensive approach to support students with mental health concerns.  Institutions of higher education should consider expanding campus-wide education programs about mental health issues and treatment available on campus and in the community.  Further, colleges and universities should examine their current levels of funding and personnel for key offices, such as counseling centers, services for students with disabilities, and other programs that may have a stake in serving this student population.  The Student Support and Referral Team here at Montgomery County Community College is an example of a program founded to address the needs of these students and the college community at large.  Institutions may have to consider increasing personnel and budget lines in these areas to ensure student needs are met.  Also, post-secondary institutions may need to examine their relationships with community mental health agencies and providers and establish or strengthen partnerships, as the case may dictate.

If steps like these are taken to make certain that students with mental health concerns are served well in all areas of college life, perhaps those bleak numbers cited above will begin to drop.  In the end, a college campus is a community, and we all have a stake in this matter.  A step toward growth for one is a step toward growth for us all.

American College Health Association (2012). American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment:  Reference group executive summary spring 2012. Baltimore: American College Health Association

(This post written by Joseph Kornoski, Counselor)

Seminar on Understanding Teenagers Will be Offered at West Campus

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The Montgomery County Teen Parent Task Force and Montgomery County Community College’s Student Support & Referral Team (SSRT) are joining forces for a third time.  On Wednesday, October 24, 2012 from 7 to 9 PM, they are offering another free “Straight Talk” seminar to the community.  The topic is “Understanding The Moods in Today’s Youth”.

According to LaRue Emmell, a long-time member and secretary of the Task Force, “teens today are under much greater stressors: bullying, sexting, emails, Facebook, etc.  With this increase of stressors, teen depression is a prevalent topic that needs to be addressed.”  She continued that, “Not only are today’s teenagers facing different problems, (but) parents, guardians and professionals who work with teenagers are in a position of needing to know how to handle different issues such as: early sexual encounters, absence of father figures, lack of self-discipline, increase in sexually transmitted diseases, to name a few.”

Attendees will hear from a variety of knowledgeable individuals and qualified professionals.  Tre Scott, the founder of Kick Teen Depression, and his mother will discuss Tre’s personal experience with depression.  Also taking part in the seminar are Abby Grasso (Social Service Liaison, Brooke Glen Behavioral Hospital), Eric Smith (Executive Director, Montgomery County Teen Talk Line), and Brett Wells (Operations Director, Greater Norristown Police Athletic League).

This educational event is geared toward teenagers, parents, guardians and professionals who work with teenagers (guidance counselors, case workers, therapists, etc.).  Emmell said that the speakers will address common questions and concerns such as: I don’t know what is wrong with him/her?  She/he is so moody.  Where can I go for help for him/her?  Those attending can expect to gain a better understanding of the science behind mood swings and depression along with helpful tactics in addressing those issues among teens.

Emmell believes that “teens are the most interesting, fun-loving, fascinating population in our society and the most misunderstood.”  Teenagers are encouraged to attend because they need to know “that they are okay….and if they are not feeling okay, there is a phone number they can call or text.”  Speakers will also be suggesting helpful, practical activities for teenagers such as volunteerism as a healthy outlet.

The program will take place in the Science Center Auditorium (room 214) at the Blue Bell Campus of Montgomery County Community College and be simultaneously video-conferenced to the Pottstown Campus in room 221 of South Hall.  Attendees at Blue Bell should use the Morris Road entrance.  In Pottstown, South Hall is at 101 College Drive.  Registration at both sites begins at 6:30 PM.  In lieu of a registration fee, donations of non-perishable food items will be accepted for distribution to a local food bank.  You can register early by calling LaRue Emmell at 215-679-3086 or by email at lemmell2@comcast.net.  Please specify which campus you will attend.  One can attend even if you are not pre-registered.   Light refreshments will be provided.  For directions to either campus please visit www.mc3.edu.

This post written by Kayleigh Digiacomo, Communications Student.

College to Present Sexual Assault Awareness/Prevention Program

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Sexual assault refers to “a statutory offense that provides that it is a crime to knowingly cause another person to engage in an unwanted sexual act by force or threat”.  (dictionary.com)

Alcohol and/or drugs are often an integral part of college sexual assaults.  Nearly 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted during their college careers.  The risk for a male being raped in his lifetime is 1 in 7.  Victims are four times likely to know their abuser.  These are just a few of the facts that will be addressed during an important program being presented at both campuses of Montgomery County Community College.

On October 9 and 11, 2012, the College, in partnership with the Montgomery County Sexual Assault Task Force, will screen “Speak Out and Stand Up”, a 25 minute video about the serious topic of sexual assault that uses diverse student voices and experts in the field.  Dramatized scenes highlight the impact of sexual assault on the victim , as well as the important roles of friends and bystanders.

While not a surefire solution, reducing vulnerability and knowing avoidance strategies are vital in protecting oneself from becoming a victim.  The video addresses these topics and will be followed by a discussion regarding the respective roles of law enforcement, probation, parole and health and victim advocates.  Professionals from each of these resources will take part in the discussion.

Free and open to the public, the program will be offered from 12:45 to 2 PM on Tuesday, October 9  in the Science Center Auditorium (room 213) at the Central Campus in Blue Bell.  On Thursday, October 11, it will be presented from 12:45 to 2 PM in the South Hall Community Room at the West Campus in Pottstown.  For more information call the College’s Office of Public Safety at 215-641-6604 or the College’s Director of Health & Wellness at 215-641-6606.

This program is a collaborative effort between the Montgomery County Adult Probation and Parole Department, Montgomery County Juvenile Probation Department, Pottstown and Whitpain Township Police departments, Victim Services of Montgomery County, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, Resources for Human Development, Magellan Health Services and Montgomery County Community College.

(Alana Mauger also contributed information for this post.)

Officer Bradley Fox, 1977-2012

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On the evening of September 13, Plymouth Township K-9 Officer Bradley Fox was shot and killed in the line of duty while trying to apprehend the suspect of a hit and run incident.

Officer Fox was a respected alumnus of Montgomery County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy, Class 603.  He remained active with the Academy during his seven-year tenure on the Plymouth Township Police Department and was a stellar role model for the Academy’s cadets and all who knew him.

Counselors from the College’s Student Success Center are available at the Municipal County Public Safety Training Campus in Conshohocken, as well as at the College’s Central and West Campuses, to offer support to the Academy’s cadets and all students, faculty and staff during this difficult time.

A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Officer Fox leaves behind a wife and young child with another child on the way.  He would have turned 35 years of age on September 14 – one day after his very untimely death.

The entire College community grieves his passing.  Our thoughts are with his family, colleagues and friends.

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