Andres Ramirez // THE CHIMES
With the shift to remote learning as of March 12, the university has moved all on-campus services online. This includes the Biola Counseling Center and Pastoral Care, both of which have begun serving students over the phone and through video conferencing.
“Our website provides links to online resources that will help students, faculty, staff and the community at large manage mental health issues,” said Director of the BCC Melanie Taylor in a statement to the Chimes. “Specific resources are being added to address the stress and uncertainty people and their families are facing with COVID-19.”
DECLINE IN MENTAL HEALTH
The American Psychiatric Association studied American responses to the COVID-19 crisis. It found that “48% are anxious about the possibility of getting the coronavirus, 40% are anxious about becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID-19, and 62% are anxious about the possibility of a friend or loved one getting the infection.”
Pastoral Care is fully operational through remote systems. Students can go online and book an appointment with a counselor of their choosing.
“We usually see a small dip in the mid point of the semester, followed by a spike in need towards the end when life tends to feel pressed by finals, preparing for various transitions, etc,” said Assistant Director of Pastoral Care Chris Barragan in a statement to the Chimes. “We are on target to see that expected uptick in need, as our appointments have already started to increase.”
IN AND OUT OF STATE
The BCC is offering full-time care to both current and new clients during this time. Local clients in the state of California have access to “private and confidential psychotherapy” through the BCC’s telehealth services. Students and staff who are out of state will be assisted in finding local resources.
The counseling center has also started offering virtual drop-in sessions with an in-house therapist Monday through Friday at specified times. Once the client clicks the link for the session they will sit in the waiting room for a brief time until the therapist is available. No paperwork or initial processing is required.
The BCC is altering its services in order to meet students and staff with care during the coronavirus crisis. Remote learning and mental health care resources are listed on Biola’s coronavirus updates page online. Aside from links to the BCC, students can access the Biola library, Rhetoric & Writing Center, IT support, the Office of Career Development and Financial Services.
“Employees are working remotely and continue to care for our student community,” Taylor said. “We are committed to the well-being of our students and to serve them well, uninterrupted, during this crisis.”
Students received a survey via email from Associate Vice President of Student Success & Academic Engagement Carrie Stockton last week regarding well-being to better inform the university of successes and challenges students are facing during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The survey included questions about a variety of factors that may affect students’ learning abilities, including access to the internet, homework load, motivation and ability to focus.