By Araceli Diaz / Staff Writer
By Araceli Diaz / Staff Writer
With the stress of finishing classes, it is easy for students to lose track of their health. Riverside City College offers a convenient solution.
“A healthy student is a student who stays in school and finishes their goals. That is our goal, to keep you healthy,” said Renee Kimberling, the Director of Student Health and Psychological Services (SHPS) at RCC.
SHPS offers a wide variety of services to RCC students ranging from professional counseling to licensed therapists to physical examinations, prescriptions, women’s health, vaccines, lab testing and even referrals to specialists.
All these services are provided from a $17 health service fee that students pay at the time of registration.
Additional services at a low extra cost.
“Health services referred me to an affordable specialist when I became sick and required specialized care,” said RCC student Kathleen Kelly. “There was no wait time when I went for my initial examination and the staff was very friendly.”
With the rising budget cuts felt throughout the entire district, the health service seems determined to continue to provide students with physical and mental health, regardless of difficult times.
“Although the budget for the college is shrinking, all the things here are funded by student fees,” said Kimberling. “It is used specifically for health services, and as a result that money has been carefully managed over the years. We’re okay as far as the financial side of it goes.”
This is not to say that there have not been some budget cuts.
“We’re trying to pull back a bit on expenses just to be prudent,” said Kimberling. “We lost two nurse practitioners, but since I’m licensing I took the roll over. We have been pretty frugal.”
SHPS however has found a clever way to gain free counseling services for the students. Dan Casella, the supervisor of psychological services developed an internship program for students who are working on their master and PhDs who are licensed to practice under his guidance.
The interns then provide counseling to the RCC students free of charge.
SHPS has witnessed firsthand how the bad economy has affected the student body.
“We’re seeing more students seeking psychological services,” said Kimberling. “A lot of the people we see are undergoing terrible financial stress and having money pressures.”
The physical health of the student body is also in trouble.
“A lot of students lost their health insurance so this is their alternative. They come to us to see if they can be treated here,” said Kimberling.
“One day I felt really sick and I went to health services and they were very friendly and treated me quickly,” said Jennifer Reyes, an RCC student.
Reyes said she would even consider having a few vaccines conducted in health service.
“Whether they are sick with the flu or whether they have a psychological issue, it intensifies it with the economy being in such a bad condition and some of them not able to find jobs or a place to sleep or food in their stomachs,” said Kimberling.
SHPS actively provides referrals to homeless shelters and attempts to bridge gaps between the community and the college.
SHPS is an acute health facility and often connects students with various community services.
Its main mission is to provide students with physical, emotional and psychological help and service at a low cost.
“I think all of you students have a difficult time to be going to school. So anything we can do to help you to get that goal finished and achieve it, is what we want to do,” said Kimberling.
SHPS is located in the Bradshaw Building below the bookstore and is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
For more information call (951) 222-8151.