The Saddleback Health Center. (Lariat/Julia McCloskey)
Saddleback College has various services for different needs. One of the most important departments on campus is the students health center. Being such a diverse community, it’s important to have all types of services available.
Most college students are not financially stable to be on their own, let alone be able to afford private therapy. One great thing about the health center is that it offers medical care from medical professionals for free. As long as you are an enrolled student and pay the $21 health fee, you got most services covered.
“We try to do everything very holistic, very calming, so that the student feels comfortable coming in and talking to somebody,” says Dean of wellness, social services and child development center, Jeanne Harris. “Everything is private and confidential, nothing is combined with your school record.”
The health center offers basic urgent care, psychological therapy, crisis intervention, first aid, laboratory testing (TB testing, STD testing) and prescriptions. It’s well equipped with emergency medical supplies, full functioning medical rooms and various therapy offices as well as resting areas for students who are just looking for somewhere to relax.
“If any faculty or professor has a student that’s maybe experiencing any type of crisis, they can walk them over and we have someone available that they can talk to right away,” says Dr. Harris.
For any couples therapy or family therapy only one person needs to be a Saddleback student to be able to use it (plus the health fee.) There are no limits on the number of times a student can use the center or see a therapist. Some other schools put a limit on the amount of times a student can come in, but according to Dr. Harris, that doesn’t work very effectively with students.
They run all the testing for students who need accommodations. Sometimes a lot of students suffer from anxiety or depression or they have a condition that requires more time for them to take test, so by testing through the health center they can provide the diagnosis needed for each student.
“It takes up to 6 hours of our time to do the testing,” says Dr. Harris. “We like to make sure that if students start the testing, they’ll finish the testing.”
With a full functioning pharmacy, the health center is able to prescribe any type of antibiotic, birth control or morning after pill. They also have a laboratory for vaccinations, medications, and run any type of analysis the student might need. Partnering up with South Coast Family, the health center has it all.
The health center also has a food pantry where students can get free food once a week. They offer various nutritious foods like fresh fruit, fresh chicken, cheeses, juices, oatmeal, granola bars, soups, peanut butter, tea, hot chocolate and toiletries. They purchase around $26,000 worth of food every semester and distribute 1,800 pounds of fresh groceries, they even teach students how to prepare proper meals.
“We try to make sure that everybody knows how to cook the food so it’s safe,” says Dr. Harris. “Everything we get here is nutrition dense. It’s not just filler food. This is actually pretty healthy foods we have.”
Another service they provide is the clothing closet. Saddlebacks health center partnered up with various companies, Tillys being one of them, to offer students different types of items (men’s clothes, women’s clothes, bags, jewelry) needed for the everyday life, job interviews or such. The clothing closet opens Tuesdays and Thursdays afternoon (currently closed until further notice.)
Any student who needs help from the health center can make an appointment through the phone or walk in. Currently the on-campus appointments are unavailable because of COVID-19, but the online resources continue their services. For any contact information you can always visit the Saddleback College Health Center page.