by Palina Yamkavaya, Staff Writer
Health issues, financial struggles, job loss, and social isolation have been affecting BCC students since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In September, many students went back to school and were faced with the challenge of adjusting to online education.
It was a hard transition for almost everyone.. “The many unknowns about this pandemic and when it will end have been a source of worry and concern for the BCC students,” said Lois Carmichael, a personal counselor . “Many have reported job losses; this is one of the main causes of anxiety”.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently reported that 75% of 18 – 24-year olds reported adverse mental health problems, and 25.5 % admitted to having serious thoughts of suicide.
In response, the college has put together Wellness Wednesdays, a student-led support group that offers a virtual space for those who are feeling anxious and stressed out.
These one-hour meetings provide a safe and confidential environment for the students to discuss their worries and problems. A personal counselor is also in attendance and lends support and guidance.
Meetings start with a drawing exercise to help students express how they are feeling. Students then take turns to share their challenges and the overall tendency of how the semester is going so far for each one of them.
Counselors also share a PowerPoint presentation on how to keep your mental health in check. The meeting is wrapped up with a group meditation led by the counselor.
“Many students often feel embarrassed or reluctant to seek help,” said Jennifer Migliorino-Reyes, Dean of Student Support Services, adding that the meetings offer an alternative.
Personal counselors are available for students remotely on weekdays through WebEx and phone counseling meetings. In addition, the Health and Wellness Center has put together a list of mental health resources for students.