As distance learning, class cuts, a global pandemic, wildfires and a heated election add to the strains on City College students, the need for mental health services may never be greater.
It has been over six months since the Diamond Princess cruise ship and it’s 185 cases of COVID-19 arrived in the San Francisco Bay triggering an outbreak of intense discussion over public safety; five months since the Board of Trustees first ended in-person lecturing due to concerns of community spread.
It has been just over a month since City College began processing the loss of the Fort Mason campus all over again as its cut classes’ kilns, easels, pottery wheels, and printing presses were labeled “Inventory to Dispose”. In a month many students will be participating in one of the most chaotic and confusing presidential elections in United States’ history.
There are plenty of causes for stress among City College students, many of whom are likely sharing the increased anxiety, depression, and substance abuse that 40% of American adults are reporting, according to a CDC survey conducted over the summer.
The same survey found that 1 in 4 young adults between 18-24 years of age are having serious suicidal thoughts and that ethnic minorities and essential workers, “reported having experienced disproportionately worse mental health outcomes, increased substance use, and elevated suicidal ideation.”
According to the 2019 California Community Colleges Student Success Scorecard students ages 18-24 made up nearly 40% of the City College student population that year, with ethnic minority students accounting for almost 70%.
This may explain part of why City College “saw an 18 percent decrease between this semester and fall 2019”, as reported previously by the San Francisco Examiner.
Mental health services at City College are free for all registered students, and a student ID is all that is needed to register on the Patient Portal.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, media relations liaison Rachel Howard says student health services are now completely virtual, and that students can expect to connect with counselors “via phone and Zoom.”
Students seeking mental health services can do so by calling 415-239-3110 or visiting the Student Health Virtual Counter during operating hours, Monday-Tuesday 9:00 am-5:30 pm and Wednesday-Friday 8:00 am-3:30 pm.
“In the 2019-2020 academic year,” Howard notes, “5,146 CCSF students were screened for mental health needs.” In that year City College had 46,858 for-credit class enrollments, making the percentage of students screened 1.1% of total enrollments, or 21.9% if enrollment is averaged to account for recidivism.
Either figure would appear to be far below the need suggested by the CDC survey.
“Never in my life have I wanted more to succeed, and I just keep getting dragged down,” confides a City College student who wishes to remain anonymous.
Help is needed, help is available, seek help.