The Tri-City Mental Health Wellness Center on 1403 N. Garey Avenue in Pomona is a support system available to all community members that offers free resources to those struggling with mental health issues.
The center has been running for eight years and offers around 75 different groups per month where community members do not need to meet any requirements to attend.
“The goal is to just help people understand mental health,” Gamaleil Polanco, manager of the wellness center, said. “If you have mental health issues, you can come to the group or if you have family members that have mental health issues then you can come learn about it as well.”
There are groups specific to depression, anxiety and other major diagnoses and groups in other areas such as cooking, self-care and age-specific tailored groups, Polanco said.
The age ranges for groups vary from children, young adults aged 18 to 25 and parents. The wellness center offers various options such as a summer camp for children and “mommy and me” classes for parents.
Aside from group therapy, the center tries to offer help with employment, volunteer experience and education as well, Polanco said.
“People with mental health issues also have interests and passions. If they can get out of that rut and get into a support group so they can feel like they’re not alone,” Polanco said, “It challenges the notion that people with mental health issues are done, no good for anything else.”
The Tri-City Mental Health Services offer clinical support as well, but patients typically need to meet requirements to obtain clinical services while the wellness center offers support completely free of charge.
“Most people don’t need direct, clinical support. Sometimes the peer support is a good step,” Jamie Ritchey, community capacity organizer, said. “There’s a richness of group activity that’s happening all week long and that’s available for everybody.”
With about 20 groups per week, there may still be a need for groups not already there, Ritchey said, which can easily be resolved by working with the wellness center to bring that group to life at no cost.
“The great thing about the wellness center is that if there is something someone wants, you can just make it happen,” Ritchey said.
Community members also have access to a computer lab, as well as job fairs and workshops to help anyone who may be struggling gain the access to attain success, Polanco said.
“We want people to get better and to get the idea that they can do these things,” Polanco said. “Everything that we offer here is free of charge, nobody gets charged for anything.”
Community members must understand that these resources are not only available, but completely accessible to all who are struggling. It is important for community members who are struggling to understand that isolation is one of the worst things you can do when dealing with mental health issues, Polanco said.
“We’re all searching for meaning and we’re all searching for this idea of being found and to connect with life; the biggest tragedy is not being found,” Polanco said. “If people come here, we want to make sure that they know they’re welcome here and accepted. If you’re having a good day, great, you can come. If you’re having a bad day, you can come. It doesn’t change our foundation.”
The center welcomes members of the Pomona, La Verne and Claremont community. Students attending the University also have access to these resources as well.
“One of the biggest problems that our society has regarding mental health is the fact that we are so ignorant,” Karma Marklund, junior psychology and Spanish major, said. “It would be so beneficial if we could open up more places like this so we could have more people learning about what mental health really means.”
A calendar of the many groups available per week can be found at tricitymhs.org/programs-services/wellness-center.
Jocelyn Arceo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.