By: Staff Writers Mallika Gupta and Chloe Velasquez
Fremont Counseling Services provides both individual and family counseling and hosts workshops and seminars to discuss mental health topics and coping mechanisms. The Smoke Signal spoke to Angela Topcu, the Intake Coordinator at Fremont Counseling Services, to discuss the services offered and seek advice.
3100 Mowry Ave., Ste 410
Fremont, CA 94538
• Provides individual counseling and psychotherapy for youth (under 18)
• Provides family therapy, helps families cope with ongoing conflicts and difficult life transitions
• Offers workshops and seminars, covering a wide range of mental health topics
o Upcoming workshops and seminars can be found: http://fremontcounselingservices.com/events/workshops-seminars/
• Offers community outreach opportunities to learn more about mental health
Smoke Signal: What services do you offer teenagers struggling with their mental health?
Angela Topcu: We offer individual counseling for teenagers struggling with a variety of issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, bullying issues, LGBT, and relationship/family conflicts. Teens are welcome to come in for any issue that they would like support with. We also give talks in the community on a variety of subjects that affect teens such as bullying and stress.
SS: What coping strategies would you recommend for high school students?
AT: Finding a coping strategy really depends on the issue that the teen is struggling with. We encourage teens to seek support from those in their community that they can trust and depend on. Finding healthy outlets for their creativity, passion and interests is also important. Some teens find art, sports, music, meditation, exercise, social connections and sometimes even work, as healthy coping mechanisms to combat stress, boredom and isolation. When life becomes unmanageable, we encourage teens to reach out for help from a counselor. Counselors can offer unbiased, non-judgmental and unconditional support for teens when they feel that no one is able to help them.”
SS: For students with friends who are struggling with their mental health, what ways can we show support?
AT: Friends can help by offering non-judgmental support and by expressing their care and concern. Sometimes, teens just need someone to talk to and who will listen without giving advice. Tell your friend who is having mental health issues that they are not alone and that there is help. Encourage them to seek help from a counselor or trusted friend or family member. If you see your friend making bad choices, do not join in with them. That will only make matters worse for your friend and for you! Instead, tell your friend that you are concerned about their behavior and you want them to get help.
SS: What advice can you give to students that are hesitant on seeking help from family, friends, or professionals?
AT: Asking for help takes courage. It is not easy in a culture that tends to stigmatize people with mental health issues. We all need support from time to time. By asking for help, you are showing that you want to improve yourself and your life! Encourage your friends to know that there are people who care and want to help. Everyone deserves to be happy and to live up to their fullest potential.
How can I sign up?
• Call (510) 342-3263 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for questions, counseling requests, and updates on workshops and seminars.