College of the Canyons held a virtual seminar on Thursday that gave the chance for students and professionals to discuss the current mental health climate. 

With 2020 soon coming to a close, a lot of notable and unfavorable events have occurred in the past 11 months. COC gave the opportunity on Nov. 12 for students to share their opinions in an open, yet safe, digital space.

The five panelists that were present touched on different topics ranging from how COVID-19 affected mental health, to understanding and identifying trauma. Panelist and COC sociology professor Katie Coleman spoke on the negative effects of having to grow accustomed to COVID-19 safety protocols.

“There are many events that are happening outside of us that are affecting everyone on an individual level that we lack control over, such as a global pandemic,” said Coleman. “During this pandemic, we are being encouraged to socially distance, isolate and even quarantine, which is counterintuitive to our biological and social needs as humans.”

As the panels went on, both COC students, as well as people unassociated with COC, shared their stories on how the past few months have affected them, which ranged from stress related to the current election to media addiction as an escape from outside anxieties.

On the topic of how to combat media addiction, panelist and COC Student Health & Wellness/Mental Health faculty member Larry Schallert gave some ideas that could help kickstart self-helping. 

“Anywhere from journaling, to creative writing, gardening, baking, all of that stuff is really positive,” said Schallert. “To me, just simple things like walking outside for a few minutes and looking around is better than just staying in front of Zoom all day.”

To look out for future events like the one on Thursday, or if you need to ask any other questions, be sure to contact COC’s health and wellness center by visiting their site at

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