Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the mental health of FSC students. Both on and off-campus, students are struggling.
David Aranda, Assistant Director of the FSC counseling center, provided statistics for activity at the counseling center. During the fall semester of 2019, the staff had met with 156 students over the course of 505 attended sessions. This semester, the staff has met with 188 students over the course of 533 attended appointments. This increase in activity points to a growing need among students for help.
“We’ve been able to implement a plan that’s ensured provision of services while prioritizing the health of our counseling staff and students,” Aranda said. “Part of this plan included continuing telehealth practice with students, whether that involved meeting with them while in their dorm room or at the center in a private room if they lacked proper technology or privacy.”
Sophomore Morgan Jarrett is a remote student currently residing at home in New Jersey. “Being online this semester has definitely taken a toll on my mental health,” Jarrett said. “The beginning of the semester was extremely hard with all of the adjustments. It was difficult being at home and away from my friends and teammates.”
The counseling center has worked hard to include remote students in their outreach this semester. Their solution has been a series of mental health webinars that can be accessed weekly by all students whether they are remote or on campus. These webinars cover topics like stress management, maintaining healthy relationships, and self-care.
“One thing that has really helped me through this semester is being able to train at home. Riding horses has helped me stay grounded and keep a positive attitude,” Jarrett said.
The counseling center will remain in operation throughout the rest of the semester. Appointments can be made online or over the phone at (863) 680-6236.
“Our main focus has been, and continues to be, being available for students,” Aranda said. “Even though telehealth has allowed us to continue serving students, we hope that someday we can return to meeting with them face to face, as there is no better substitute for student engagement.”