Health Center to offer free therapy to students


Los Rios Community College District is partnering with WellSpace to offer free confidential therapy for staff and students to combat everyday and academic stressors. (Photo illustration by Ashley Hayes-Stone)

Irene Jacobs

The life of a student can be a stressful one. When combined with a home life, social life and employment, deadlines and other academic stressors can become overwhelming. However, this semester, American River College’s Health Department is offering options for struggling students.

Since early February, ARC has provided free, confidential mental health services and therapy through a partnership with WellSpace Health. ARC offers a variety of student resources on campus, such as the Beaver Food Pantry, Veterans Resource Center, counseling, financial aid and now mental health services.

According to its website, WellSpace is a Sacramento-based foundation seeking to provide medical care, dental services, and mental and behavioral health services to underserved communities. The foundation partnered with the Los Rios Community College District to offer their “people-first approach to comprehensive healthcare” to all four community colleges.

Licensed clinicians at ARC’s Health Center are able offer free and confidential therapy on a range of issues. Parrish Geary, the dean of admissions and transfer services, said the resources were a district-wide effort for students to receive the help they may need.

This is in an effort to have the same resources available at all four colleges,” Geary said. “Clinicians will provide therapy sessions to address situational stress, such as relationship or family challenges, academic or financial  stress, grief, loss, anxiety and depression.”

Michele Arnott, a nurse at the Health Center, said services are being provided at the center to combat students’ emotional and psychological stressors and prevent them from interfering with academic life.

“The WellSpace clinician will provide short-term therapy sessions to address situational stress (relationship or family challenges, academic or financial stress), grief, loss, anxiety, and depression,” Arnott wrote in an email to the Current.

Additionally, clinicians offer resources to a variety of individuals struggling with issues related to sensitivity to culture, the LGBTQ+ community, the military and various physical limitations.

Therapy sessions are intended to be short term, however, the clinicians are able to provide referrals if a patient wishes to receive more complex mental health assistance.

Arnott said services are only being contracted for one year, but that the Health Center hopes for these to become “a permanent service” in the future.

Any student enrolled at ARC or other Los Rios colleges is eligible to receive free and confidential mental health services.

Appointments can be scheduled by calling or texting WellSpace at (916)-340-8148 or by visiting the ARC Health Center.