Health Center hotlines provide immediate support for students

Health and Wellness Center continues to support students during the pandemic.

If you feel like you can’t do it, you’re not alone. American River College’s Health Center Hotlines are here to support you all the way through.(Photo from

With COVID-19 raging through the country and people scrambling to make their next moves, it’s hard not to get down or feel depressed and overwhelmed from time to time. To help students with their mental health during the campus closures, the American River College Health and Wellness Center has created a Health Center Hotline so students don’t have to feel alone anymore.

Dee Dee Gilliam, Health and Wellness Center director, said the purpose of the hotline is to help students get back on track and relieve stress, with immediate help.

“Since being remote we have entered into an arrangement with TimelyMD,” Gilliam said. “They offer free 24/7 access to unlimited medical access, and a service called TalkNow, which is for when a student feels the need to speak with someone right then.”

Gilliam said that TimelyMD is available to all currently enrolled students, free of charge.

“TimelyMD can be accessed by phone [call], by an app on your phone, or by internet,” Gilliam said. “Telehealth has been around for many years, and is used by the military and in places where medical care isn’t close by. The pandemic made us look at what we could provide to our students, quickly in an uncertain situation.”

Gilliam said that they also have local mental health counselors and interns from California State University, Sacramento that could provide private counseling services for students via Zoom meetings. Students can access the Health and Wellness website at Health and Wellness Center.

Scott Crow, ARC public information officer, said he has been assisting the Health and Wellness center and making sure everyone knows of its services and operations.

“I help promote the services and programs offered by the Health and Wellness Center to increase awareness among the ARC community,” Crow said.

Like every other department at ARC, the Health and Wellness Center’s operations have been affected as well but is still working to help out students. Gilliam said that counselors and nurses have hosted many Zoom meetings including movies for mental health.

“Since we’ve been working from home, the Health and Wellness team from all four [Los Rios] colleges have come together as one team to not only plan how we respond to the pandemic and help with getting everyone back to campus but to also plan for how we can support students now and with the services they’ll have when they come back to campus in 2021,” Gilliam said.

CampusWell is a wellness newsletter maintained by ARC’s Health and Wellness team. Gilliam said that MindWise is a website that provides a mental health screening tool that allows the user to take any one of a number of different screens, and helps the person decide whether they want to seek further assistance. It doesn’t diagnose but provides resources for the student to follow up with, according to Gilliam.

“Pretty soon, there will also be [a service called] Scheduled Counseling, which will allow a student to schedule an appointment with a chosen counselor up to twelve times a year,” Gilliam said. “That expanded program will be starting within the next two weeks, so watch for the launch!”

Gilliam said the staff misses working on campus and is anxious to get back to school by next fall. Making sure the students have support through the COVID-19 crisis will remain as their top priority for now.

Crow said that he was proud students could have the resources they need to succeed in their classes.

“I am very glad we can offer 24/7 telehealth services at a time when students really need them; we know students can have a variety of health and wellness needs,” Crow said. “We encourage students to take advantage of these resources and pass the word on to other students, so more people know about them.”