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A Look at Palomar’s Behavioral Health Center

Palomar College’s Behavioural Health Counseling Services (BCHS) offers a variety of services free of charge for many Palomar students, according to staff.

The BHCS is available to provide students with remote confidential counseling services on weekdays. Their hours go from 8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Mondays through Thursdays and from 8:00 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. on Fridays.

Their services include individual, couples, and group counseling, consultation, and more with an emphasis on therapy aimed at helping students thrive in a college environment.

These short-term counseling services are limited to weekly 45 minutes sessions and are available to students currently enrolled at Palomar who have paid their health fee of $21 for fall or spring semester and $18 for summer semester.

Students looking to fully benefit from BHCS should keep their Patient Portal up to date. It provides access to many services like Telehealth appointments, resources, and a way to send secure messages to clinicians.

The fastest way for students to get in touch with the health center and make appointments is through their phone number (760) 891-7531

The BCHS has four full time and four temporary behavioral counselors, including a Spanish-speaking counselor. When making an appointment the center does their best to accommodate any preferences the student may have depending on availability of the counselors and urgency.

According to BCHS staff it can take between two to three weeks to get an appointment with a therapist.

In the past the center has found itself overwhelmed with the amount of students seeking support around times of high stress, such as midterm season. In such cases the Student Health Centers (SHC) may step in and help conduct screenings and referrals.

This is an issue that the BCHS hopes to resolve with adding more staff to the center.

In a Zoom interview with the Telescope staff, A.J. Lewis, a counseling intern, said, “I do think that should be a little bit better this time around too because we do have more people on right now.”

BCHS also works with the Health Promotion team that concentrates on creating places to support student health in every sense of the word. They have a variety of Zoom skillshops that concentrate on both mental and physical wellness. Topics include everything from birth control to understanding depression, with regularly scheduled Mindful Mondays and Wellness Wednesdays as well.

Palomar and the BCHS also partner with CampusWell, a website with resources and articles about a variety of health topics. By going online and interacting with the articles, students can be put in the running to win a $50 Amazon gift card.

If a student has a problem that is both mental and physical then the BCHS can collaborate with the Student Health Centers to best help the student. However, the student must first have a proper diagnosis from a medical professional such as a psychiatrist or a doctor, and they must submit a release of information to the center.

“We have a really integrated model…we’ve seen both referrals on the medical side and behavioral health,” said health services specialist, Lenka Schalkle in an interview via Zoom.

You can see more information on their recently updated home page here.

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