The Importance of Collaboration
An ancient African Proverb tells us, ‘If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together.” In the face of overwhelming need, it is vitally important that colleges and community agencies work together toward common goals. Meeting the mental health needs in our communities is a collectively agreed upon goal which will take immense effort from all constituency groups within college campuses, community mental health programs and local Department of Mental Health entities. Successful teamwork is essential if we are to fully meet the mental health needs of our college students. We cannot do it alone. It is time to invite all parties to the table for effective problem solving and program development.
|A Strategic Approach
The successful outcomes of the L.A. College Consortium’s CalMHSA Project are due in large part to the teambuilding and collaborative partnerships that were formed throughout the grant period. One of the goals of the Building Healthy Communities Initiative was to increase dialogue and foster relationships with local mental health resources, other colleges, other higher education systems, NAMI and Active Minds.
A series of Regional Strategizing Forums with Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and community mental health entities led to improved relationships between the systems and heightened knowledge of the needs and offerings of both the colleges and the Department of Mental Health with some agreement on how to best support each other.
The Project’s training and planning efforts were often expanded to help other colleges. The networking between the colleges strengthened the base of support for college student mental health in the L.A. area and allowed for the leveraging of additional resources. The Rio Hondo Campus Based Grant Project and the West Los Angeles Campus Based Grant Project partnered with the Consortium on 3 of the Regional Strategizing Forums. The L.A. College Consortium partnered with the CSU System for co-sponsorship of one of the Regional Strategizing Forums and one major Violence Prevention event. The Project was able to use their facility, staffing on the day of the event and complimentary food. The CSU System also graciously included select Project staff in their Mental Health First Aid USA and QPR Training opportunities. The Project is grateful to the CSU system for their generous support. NAMI and Active Minds became core partners in our Peer to Peer work effort throughout the Consortium Colleges.