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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Campus counselor eases mental health concerns

NE+student+Jennie+Lambert+gets+a+hug+from+NE+counselor+Masika+Smith+during+a+mental+health+awareness+workshop+on+Sept.+19.%0APhoto+by+Paridhi+Gurung%2FThe+Collegian
NE student Jennie Lambert gets a hug from NE counselor Masika Smith during a mental health awareness workshop on Sept. 19. Photo by Paridhi Gurung/The Collegian
NE student Jennie Lambert gets a hug from NE counselor Masika Smith during a mental health awareness workshop on Sept. 19.
Photo by Paridhi Gurung/The Collegian

By Cody Shannon/reporter

With September being Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, a NE Campus counselor hosted a workshop on how she coped with thoughts of suicide.

Masika Smith shared her journey of living and coping with depression with attendees of the mental health awareness workshop Sept. 19.

Smith said she had been dealing with depression since moving to the United States from the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the age of 19. She had never heard of depression at that time.

“How can I ask for help if I don’t even know what to ask for?” Smith told the audience.

She said she was first prescribed antidepressants a few months after her second child was born. After being off the antidepressants originally prescribed for her postpartum depression, Smith said she had a frightening realization.

One morning, her husband had taken both of their children to school leaving Smith alone in the quiet of her home. She recalled being so overwhelmed with the peace and quiet that she thought that would be a perfect moment for her to die. With her background in counseling, she recognized that as a suicidal thought and contacted her doctor.

When she left her doctor’s appointment, she held her paperwork with the results saying she had depression.

“I was scared of the label,” Smith said.

She worried about how this would affect her career and how she would tell her family. Smith’s initial reaction subsided after reflecting on the fact that how she was feeling at that moment must be how students feel in her office.

Smith also invited former student Jennie Lambert to share her story. Lambert said struggling with being new in college caused her depression to manifest. After moving to Canada and getting married, Lambert stopped taking her antidepressants. She was married for seven years before getting divorced due to the emotionally abusive nature of the relationship and getting back on her medication.

“With my counseling, I’ve dealt with the emotional abuse,” Lambert said. “With my pills, I feel balanced.”

NE student Mary Cardwell said the workshop showed the importance of taking care of mental health. 

“By taking care of your mental health, you have the ability to be there for someone else,” Cardwell said.

TCC counselors on every campus are available to help anyone with feelings of depression or suicidal thoughts, or they can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. They can also text 741741 which will allow them to text someone from the Crisis Text Line who can help them navigate what they are going through.

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