Display at Cuesta College raises awareness of mental health

Black flags signifying the average number of college-age students who commit suicide each year are being displayed on the Cougar Park Lawn at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo this week.

The 1,100-flag demonstration is intended to raise awareness about mental health issues and support services available to students. The college’s Mental Health Program, assisted by the Active Minds Club, organized the week’s events. A Mental Wellness Resource Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the library Tuesday.

“The main goal of these awareness weeks is to get resources out there to students who could be struggling,” said Cuesta College student Erin Smith, also president of the Active Minds Club. “We also want to get people talking and thinking about mental well-being, which in turn will start changing the conversation about mental health.”

The college received a two-year $154,543 grant in 2012 from the California Community College Student Mental Health Program, which is being used to pay for additional training for staff who serve students with mental health challenges.