APU provides free mental health tests

In honor of National Depression Screening Day, the University Counseling Center (UCC) conducted its second free mental health screening Wednesday, Oct. 14, on Cougar Walk from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

National Depression Screening Day is part of Mental Illness Awareness Week and is nationally observed during the Thursday of the first full week in October. At APU, this week is referred to as Community Values Focus Week.

Therapists were present during the UCC screening for depression and other mental health concerns including stress, anxiety and various mood disorders.

The screening allowed students to fill out a form in order to assess how they are feeling. Within minutes, students got their results and one of the therapists explained it to them.

Students were also able to ask questions about resources provided by the UCC or other mental health resources that may be available to them.

Some students decided to check out the UCC’s mental health screening because they got free treats.

“A simultaneous mixture of cookies and mental health screenings,” sophomore psychology major John Groom said. “It’s good for you,”

Others were motivated by their curiosity to know about the event taking place on campus.

“I was just curious,” sophomore liberal studies major Jordan Klein said. “It was good. I think I might check [the University Counseling Center] out.”

Sophomore biology major Alex Salcedo inquired at the free mental health screening booth after being encouraged to utilize the UCC.

“I feel like a lot of people could use someone to talk to,” Salcedo said. “A lot of people try to keep [emotions internalized] and I don’t think that’s good because I think that affects everything you do school-wise and emotional-wise instead of talking it out.”

Junior history and sociology major Darrah Covert used the University Counseling Center when she was a freshman.

“There’s a stigma about counseling that it’s something that’s for crazy people or something like that,” Covert said. “I would recommend [the counseling center] even if you think you’re just doing fine. I think even just to have a few sessions to see where your mental health is at. I think it’s just good idea for everyone even if they’re not going through anxiety or depression or anything traumatic.”

The University Counseling Center also offers group workshops, one of which is a stress management workshop continuing from last year called RIO (Recognition, Insight and Openness). The three-week workshop meets one hour every week.

“This year we changed it up. We’ve added a little bit more spirituality and faith into it so you can know how to relax and how you can gain some recognition, insight, openness within yourself and adding Christ into that,” UCC psychologist Dr. Linda Abdelsayed said. “It’s been proven to be really, really helpful for a lot of our students and they really enjoy it a lot.”

The UCC is in partnership with a new agency, HomeWord, which started its annual couples’ seminar, “Getting Ready for Marriage” on Oct. 1. The 10-week pre-marital seminar costs $20 per couple. Classes have already started, and applications are no longer being accepted.

“We offer guidance,” Abdelsayed said. “We help to provide spiritual, emotional and academic growth and wellness and help to create some wholeness and health. So whether you’re really struggling with something, or if you’re strong and you just want to keep on going to be better, we can help you. Anyone can receive any help, and we would love to be able to offer that to you.”

Students who wish to contact the University Counseling Center can do so without making an appointment. For crises and urgent care, students are free to walk in the office and meet with a counselor on duty from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Students who are able to wait to see a counselor can make appointments by calling (626) 815-2109. The University Counseling Center is located in Magnolia Court within the Shire Modulars near the Cougar Baseball Field.