Pierce College mental health counselors continue to support students virtually

Licensed Pierce College mental health counselors are still providing counseling sessions and resources to students through the pandemic. 

Since the start of quarantine in March, Pierce College mental health counselors have begun hosting their counseling sessions either by phone or Telehealth, a meeting room similar to Zoom but specifically used for assisting long-distance health care interventions. 

According to Jennifer Wright, one of Pierce College’s mental health counselors who has a background working with the military and studied addiction, said the most common concern that she is hearing from students since the pandemic began is a lack of motivation.

“I’m noticing a lot of people feeling unmotivated. Hard to get things done. Hard to attend to schoolwork. Hard to get up and go to school,” said Brenda Rogers, another Pierce College mental health counselor who has a license in marriage and family therapy.

America’s Promise -The Alliance for Youth conducted an online survey between April and May to analyze how school closures have affected students’ well-being and education. 3,300 teens between the ages of 13 and 19 submitted their responses. The survey found that 52% of participants are more concerned about their family and their own health than normal, 30% are more anxious about having their basic essentials provided and 39% are more worried about their ongoing and future education. 

“When COVID-19 hit and everything was locking down, I was already kind of so anxious and stressed. It was just one more thing to add,” said Cameron Norquist.

Norquist is a running start student who was medically diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) during his freshman year of high school. 

“I didn’t have any graduation ceremony,” said Hina Kumoo, an international student from Japan.

Wright says it’s important to take care of yourself by taking 15 minutes breaks in between school work to re-energize. Going for a walk and watching your favorite show are examples Wright gives.  

“Having connections to people that we love and having meaningful work, those are associated with good mental health,” said psychology professor Jo Anne Geron. 

Student government is working towards getting approval to pass out a survey to students which would ask them about their mental health and how college resources can be improved. They’re aiming to distribute the survey next quarter. 

“Currently we are just gathering data and seeing what we can do from there,” said Elijah O’Brien, legislative senator at the Puyallup campus. 

Megan Irby is a mental health counselor at Pierce College who specializes in working with individuals who identify as part of the LGBTQ community and those who are dealing with addictions.

“We are here and we just want to make sure that everyone knows that you’re not alone,” said Irby.

Until Pierce College fully reopens and returns to in-person learning, the mental health counselors will continue to assist and advise students online. Counselors can be contacted by phone or email on the Pierce College website, under the student resources tab and counseling page. 

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Celine Paez

Pierce College mental health counselors continue to support students virtually

by Celine Paez time to read: 2 min