LLC’s LopesCares provides holistic mental health support

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Published Saturday, April 24, 2021

Lamar Community College (LCC) students and employees who are struggling have a variety of supportive services at their fingertips. All they need to do is ask. 

LopesCares Coordinator Susan Frankel is determined to help support the well-being of students and staff at LCC. Along with the work of her predecessor, Dr. Rosalind Smith, and the support of the college, LCC has services to ensure that students and employees of LCC can be successful.

"LopesCares is a health initiative to make sure we're addressing the needs of our students and employees and making sure we're getting them to the right resources," Frankel said. "We really try to work with them to get their needs met. We want to be supportive of everyone on campus."

LopesCares is a holistic program that provides support and advocacy for LCC students and employees through its variety of services. LopesCares assists individuals or couples in crisis, connects individuals with resources for substance abuse and helps students with disabilities or those struggling with their mental health. The program also ensures that no student or staff member or their families go hungry or without basic hygiene supplies. The LopesCares Food Pantry provides shelf-stable foods, like canned or boxed goods, as well as basic hygiene supplies such as toothbrushes, toilet paper and diapers to anyone associated with LCC, no questions asked.

"People don't usually seek out help unless they need it," Frankel said. "That's what we've found. Last spring when COVID-19 hit, we were providing food for quite a few of our students," Frankel said. "Their situations were fairly dire."

Frankel said the demand on the program has grown and waned over the years, but she wants to ensure that the student and employee population knows that these services are available if they need them. During the COVID-19 lockdowns, Frankel said the college was particularly concerned about mental health and suicide ideation. The program connected individuals in crisis with services that they needed and provided a non-judgmental ear to those who just wanted to have someone to talk to.

The program is funded by the college, the LCC Foundation and suicide-prevention organization Jed Campus. LopesCares does not track students who use its services or the pantry and all assistance is confidential. Frankel said the college is concerned about student and employee well-being and success, not monitoring the individuals who use the program.

To request assistance from LopesCares, students and employees can text or call (719) 691-1601, email LopesCares@lamarcc.eduor fill out the form on the LopesCares webpage at lamarcc.edu/contact-lopescares/.

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