Addressing mental health & forming healthy habits

The Student Association of School Psychology (SASP) at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) held their monthly meeting centering around mental health first aid (MHFA) and self-care on Nov. 18.

SASP aims to allow CSUMB students to discuss issues and concerns that directly affect them – both professionally and academically. By doing so, they increase communication between students, and promote networking and sharing useful resources. 

The meeting had various hosts from SASP, but a majority was led by Maria Miranda Ramirez, the SASP secretary.

Ramirez led the event into a recorded interview with Shannon Snapp, an associate professor at CSUMB. In Ramirez’s interview with Snapp, Ramierez wanted Snapp to speak freely on topics such as self-care, self-love and self-compassion. 

At the beginning of the meeting, Snapp asked students to start off by meditating as a way of focusing and grounding themself. After the meditation and relaxation, Snapp addressed a few notes before digging into the topics at hand. 

First, Snapp said to take a deep breath, acknowledge the moment/experience one is in, recognize that self-love and self-compassion are a journey, a continuous practice, and lastly, to believe in the experience and oneself. 

Snapp highlighted that self-love is not just about body image, but rather a way to free oneself from self judgement and encourage self-acceptance in every aspect of one’s life. 

Next, Snapp asked “what is self-compassion?”  

Snapp noted that self-compassion and self-love sometimes get confused and thrown together. 

Snapp shared a detailed quote from Kristin Neff she feels best describes self-compassion: “Self-compassion entails being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or flagellating ourselves with self-criticism.”

Now how does one live with self-love? According to Snapp, one needs to remember to take out toxic things: images, people and media, and speak kindly to oneself and have collective compassion. 

After the enlightening interview with Snapp, the meeting concluded with key takeaways regarding mental health first aid. MHFA is an eight-hour training course consisting of four hours via Zoom and four hours of asynchronous online training available for students. 

Topics addressed included knowledge of common mental health disorders such depression, anxiety, psychosis, substance abuse, self-harm and suicidal behaviours. The training informs the community how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. 

SASP allows students access to these resources and helps them attain the knowledge and skills central to their lives. 

Slowly, the stigma with mental health can be reduced with resources like these and awareness brought on by the SASP. The next meeting will take place on Dec. 9.

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