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Student Health Services adds free accommodations for students

The department spends a quarter of their funding on mental health and plans a $3.5 million to start in the summer.

Illustration by Bobby Yagake

Illustration by Bobby Yagake

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Plans of a renovation for the Student Health Center facility were announced Wednesday at the Associated Students Inc. meeting. Mary Ann Takemoto, associated vice president of student affairs, made an appearance at the meeting to discuss renovation plans and free new services provided for students.

Accommodations include HIV and TB testing, x-ray copies, orthopedic supplies and dismissing the fee for services during the summer.

Student Health Services is using a quarter of their funding to focus on mental health programs for Cal State Long Beach students. Extra psychiatrists and psychologists have been hired and an after-hours nurse line for consolations is being added for students.

Senator Thulani Ngazimbi expressed concerns for students who feel uncomfortable with the short-term therapist appointments on campus.

“The system we have in place here doesn’t seem like it allows time for a student to feel comfortable with their therapist,” Ngazimbi said. “Why does it seem like there are so many steps that students have to go through in order to be eligible to see a therapist?”

According to Takemoto, the reason for the short-term model is a trend for most college campuses.

“Even within five to six sessions, students can show improvement in a number of areas but obviously that depends on what issues the students are coming in for,” Takemoto said.

Ngazimbi pointed out that the five sessions of therapy wouldn’t help the student but merely put “a bandaid on a deep wound.”

Takemoto confirmed that a $3.5 million building renovation would start in summer and be finished by winter of next year. They plan to update the 50-year-old exam rooms and equipment as well as increase the number of gender neutral bathrooms in the building.

A survey will be sent out via email to 10,000 undergraduates next Sunday to assess the health trends on campus and analyze what students need from health services. The department has been talking about services for transgender students and incorporating hormone therapy as well as adding a part-time dermatologist to their faculty.

“There is definitely a shortage of therapists that we have,” Takemoto said. “There are established ratios in terms of the number of students and a number of counselors a school should have. We are way below where we should be, we could probably use 10 more. Unfortunately, we have not been able to get additional funding from the university.”

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