Expanded Student Counseling, Prevention and Wellness Center Opens
Thursday, February 23, 2023
New space signals new and expanded mental health services for BHCC students
Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) officially opened its expanded Student Counseling, Prevention and Wellness Center on Wednesday, February 22, 2023, signaling the College’s commitment to student mental health and wellness at a time when access to mental health services at colleges and universities everywhere has taken on greater importance.
“We are approaching student mental health much as we do student physical health—as not only critical to our students' success, but as a basic human right to which all are entitled,” said BHCC President Pam Eddinger. “Our expanded counseling center will give more students access to the counseling and treatment they need, and access to those from marginalized communities where there are significant barriers to it.”
The American Psychological Association (APA) estimates that 60% of college students nationwide met the criteria for at least one mental health problem in 2021, and that college mental health centers had experienced a 40% increase in students seeking help between 2009 and 2015—both figures that the APA says have grown dramatically during the pandemic.
BHCC’s Student Counseling, Prevention and Wellness Center has three licensed counselors available to students on an appointment or walk-in basis, providing free, one-on-one counseling in person or via videoconferencing, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The counselors clinical work is supervised by Dr. Lisa B. Solomon, a psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
“This expansion will mean better access and a better experience for BHCC students who are in need of mental health services,” said Interim Director of Student Counseling Sartreina Dottin, DSW, LCSW. “It features more private spaces for counselors to talk with students, and spaces where the Center can hold events on anything from mental health education for students to celebrations and community meetings. The space will make a tangible difference in the quality of care and access Bunker Hill students experience.”
In September 2020, President Eddinger created the Mental Health Commission (MHC) charged with developing a set of recommendations to address racism as a public health crisis and to examine the need for mental health support for our Black and brown students and employees, as well as general strategies to ensure mental wellness of our whole community. In late July 2021, the Co-Chairs of the MHC forwarded recommendations to the Vice Presidents Council. The first recommendation of the Student Subcommittee of the MHC was to create a counseling center with a team of staff members that are representative of our student population. At the time the recommendations were put forward, the college had three BIPOC personal counselors.
The redesigned Student Counseling, Prevention and Wellness Center is the latest in several initiatives to expand mental health services and awareness at BHCC. The College is a JED Campus, a program supported by the JED Foundation which supports best practices, training, and education around mental health on college campuses. The College is also part of Mass General Brigham’s Resilience and Prevention Program, which offers programs that help young people learn to improve their ability to manage the demands of school, work and relationships and to develop new ways to cope with daily stress.
In addition, the college has contracted MY SSP (Student Support Program), a national online counseling service to provide FREE virtual counseling 24/7. Counseling is available in multiple languages to best meet student needs. In addition, there are free fitness apps and videos.
And with the ribbon cutting, the center is officially open! The Counseling Prevention and Wellness Center is devoted to serving students in need of emotional support and guidance during difficult times. Learn more about the Center at https://t.co/dKFFePrm6o pic.twitter.com/W8SihTaPz7— BHCC Boston (@BHCCBoston) February 22, 2023
Today we are celebrating the opening of the Student Counseling, Prevention and Wellness Center. “We are welcoming peace, love, joy and healing” Dr. Dottin Interim Director. pic.twitter.com/CXdjkTbFX7— BHCC Boston (@BHCCBoston) February 22, 2023