Taking care of your mental health is important, and the Student Health Center at Pierce has been increasing its hours of operation to help students.
Director of the Student Health Center Beth Benne said that the increased hours are an important step in the right direction.
“Having coverage during all of our operating hours is of primary importance to us for a multitude of reasons,” Benne said. “We started with five hours a week in 1998.”
Supervising Psychologist Niaz Khani has created, maintained and grown the Student Health Center’s post-doctoral Intern Program over the last five years to 100 hours a week. This allowed an increase in resources and keeps costs low.
“We average about maybe 75 to over 100 hours of service per week,” said Khani. “In our first week we had 15 new clients. In the past two weeks, and our week is not even done, we’ve had 26 people so far.”
A big issue among the campus is the lack of awareness about the Student Health Center and many students not knowing about the benefits and services they have to offer.
When applying for classes in the fall or spring semester, students are required to pay a $11.00 health fee that enables the Student Health Center to continue to operate their program and allow services for students to be free.
Beene wants to expand the Student Health Center’s services, although doing so would require raising the health fee.
“If we could charge $21.00, that would pay for a full time psychologist. If we had a full time psychologist, we could expand our mental health exponentially,” said Benne. “I can also expand dental for that matter.”
Student Carolina Brown thinks that with increased hours at the Health Center, it’s vital to visit and for students to become more aware of the benefits they have to offer.
“I think it’s important for students to utilize the resources they have at Pierce, especially if the student is stressed or having other issues that maybe can be helped with at the counseling center,” said Brown.
The Student Health Center is open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.