With the dark days of winter can come a depressed mood.

Portland and its neighbor, Vancouver, Washington, have the highest rates of depression among 150 of America’s largest cities, according to WalletHub. They also rank as the top two cities for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a depression brought on by the lack of sun during the winter.

MHCC’s Career Planning and Counseling Center, located in Room 1152 between the Bookstore and Student Union, offers personal counseling for students, faculty, staff, and employers suffering from mental health issues and life stresses. Appointments can be scheduled in advance, and walk-ins are accepted in emergency situations.

With only a four counselors on hand, it can be hard for CPCC workers to meet regularly with all students who seek help, so currently the team refers students to long-term resources off campus, when needed.

Because of budget and staffing restrictions, John Hamblin, executive dean of student development, said the CPCC staff are brainstorming group events and programs to reach more students. They are considering holding a one-day certification class for mental health crises, accepting counseling interns for assistance, and creating support groups.

There are also depression-related accommodations offered by MHCC’s Disabilities Services department. If a student has been diagnosed with a physical or mental condition, Mt. Hood can provide accommodations such as a separate room for testing, or a longer time to complete an exam.

The disabilities we can’t see are just as important as the visible ones, said David Pontious, the director of Disability Services. His goal is providing “equal access opportunity” for all people.

Part of those services include personal counseling and special career guidance, as well as student registration assistance.

Many people have come to the Disability Services office – located in the Student Services office, Room 2253 – suffering from maladies ranging from a concussion, to mental health issues, a broken arm, mobility restraints, and visual impairment issues.

Both the CPCC and Disability Services help students with mental health concerns and career planning. On Feb 8, the CPCC is hosting a career fair, featuring 60 employers trying to recruit MHCC students for jobs, careers, internships, or volunteer opportunities.

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