CCC Wellness Program offers free therapy to students

CCC+Wellness+Program+offers+free+therapy+to+students

Cindy Pantoja / The Advocate

By Stacie Guevara, Associate Editor

As the global coronavirus pandemic is negatively affecting the well-being and mental health of students, the Wellness Program at Contra Costa College is offering support and services to those in need of help.

CCC’s newest mental wellness counselor Kelley Shore said CCC’s Wellness Program offers one-on-one therapy sessions to students.

Shore said, “Community college students have lots of difficulties, and having someone to talk to and help them is poignant and important.”

Senior administrative secretary Elizabeth Bremner is the administrative assistant to Dean of Students Dennis Franco and the coordinator of the wellness appointments.

Bremner said the Wellness Program’s services are totally free and confidential and offer a safe place for students to talk about things affecting their daily lives and mental health.

As appointment coordinator, Bremner takes students’ information to connect them with one of the counselors for a 10-15 minute one-on-one private session between the student and counselor.

Bremner said they usually have a waiting list for students to be seen, but currently, they don’t have a waitlist because the campus is closed.

They’re actively looking for students for therapists to see because of the stress the COVID-19 pandemic is causing.

Bremner said ideally people’s schedules are more flexible because the campus has moved to remote instruction. People seem to have more time on their hands.

The Wellness Program is currently offering appointments to students through a phone call or Zoom meetings and appointments can be made at 510-215-3960.

They also accept email inquiries at wellness@contracosta.edu.

The health and human services (HHS) department at CCC is different from the Wellness Program, but students asking for help may go to each.

HHS department Chairperson Aminta Mickles said her department always does things for Mental Health Month, which occurs during May.

She also checks in to the California Community Colleges Health and Wellness Program website: https://www.cccstudentmentalhealth.org/.

Although she hasn’t worked directly with Mickles, Bremmer said at times when the Wellness Program is especially concerned about a student, she redirects them to Mickles and the HHS department.

The HHS department helps students overcome obstacles in life, such as drug abuse and domestic violence.

If students are in a mental health crisis, they can go to https://ccconlineed.instructure.com/courses/1895, which offers free health and wellness resources meant specifically for California community college students.

The California Community Colleges Health and Wellness Program focuses broadly on California community colleges, but at CCC, resources exist to connect people with organizations in the community.

Bremner said, “Mental health in our community is very stigmatized and we’re just trying to help our students. We want to let them know that it’s OK not to be OK and it’s OK to ask for help.”

Bremner said they have space in the Wellness Program right now and openings are available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

She said over the past four years, roughly 458 students have taken advantage of the program. That averages out to helping 114 students per year.

The six dimensions of wellness are emotional, social, physical, academic, financial and spiritual.

Bremner said if a student has a serious issue that can’t be handled by the Wellness Program, they make referrals to other programs in the community.

She also said the program not only refers students to mental health clinics, but also medical clinics and even dentists.

Bremner said the program is currently attempting to call or contact all CCC students. “It’s great we’re staying connected as a community during this time,” she said. “Our school is such a home for (CCC students).”