Jeniffer Torres/The Union
Changes in the learning environment and concerns about COVID-19 have had negative impacts on the mental and physical health of students at El Camino, but the Editorial Board would like to recognize the Student Health Services for its incredible efforts in providing assistance to students during these trying times.
Students at El Camino College have reported feeling more stressed, anxious and depressed due to reasons such as academic concerns, family and financial issues, heavier workloads and preexisting mental health issues. In light of this, the Student Health Services has increased student health and wellness resources this semester.
The most recent American College Health Association National College Health Assessment (ACHANCHA) recorded that 83% of the 50,307 students surveyed reported that multiple factors were negatively impacting student mental health, well-being and academic performance.
To combat these factors, the Student Health Services has made more telemental and telemedicine health services available to eligible students from Monday to Friday. Some medical services are also available for on-site and face-to-face assistance, if necessary, as well as free and low-cost medication pick up, and diagnostic testing and assessments.
Pandemic guidelines and precautions have reduced the number of patients that doctors see on a daily basis, causing the next available appointments to be weeks and even months away. But through the Student Health Services’ medical services, students can make online appointments for physical exams, vaccines, tests, screenings and prescription of reproductive health products.
On Sept. 28 the Student Health Services, along with the ECC Nursing Program, hosted a free walk-in and drive-thru flu shot clinic for all students, faculty and staff. While the clinic was supposed to end on Oct. 2, they extended it by another week and are still providing vaccinations by appointment.
Offering free and low-cost medicinal health services to the ECC community, especially in light of COVID-19, helps students and employees who have limited access to other health providers remain safe.
In addition to physical well-being, mental health is also singled out and prioritized, for which the Editorial Board would also like to commend the Student Health Services.
Since the beginning of quarantine, some students reported on social media that they’ve been feeling a decline in their mental health and noticed an increase in stress, anxiety, feelings of depression, difficulties staying focused and poor sleep schedules.
Taking into account the mental struggles that students are facing, ECC psychologists host free Virtual Wellness Workshops every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday which are aimed toward the betterment of students’ mental health.
These workshops focus on meditation, understanding and coping with depression and anxiety, safe spaces to discuss and cope with traumas, self-care, anger management and a mental health support group for students whose first language is Spanish. There is also a one-day informative workshop on suicide awareness and prevention where participants can learn about risk factors and ways to help a friend.
About 25% of the 50,307 students surveyed in the ACHANCHA also tested positive in the suicidal behavior screening and 2% admitted to attempting within the last 12 months.
Bringing awareness to these topics and offering these workshops to students in need can help improve their mental state, which can then create other positive changes in their life.
Taking breaks from any stressors in our lives such as reserving time during the day or week to relax, asking for extensions on assignment deadlines, changing up daily routines and trying something new, is important and could have a positive impact on overall health.
We encourage students to allow themselves to recharge and for professors to understand that students need breaks too. We also encourage students to take advantage of the services provided by the Student Health Services.
As students ourselves, the Editorial Board would like to highlight the ECC Student Health Services and their outstanding job in providing students with the mental and physical health care they need during the time when they need it most.