How DVC Is Responding to Students’ Mental Health Concerns


Image by Victoruler via Wikimedia Commons. CC BY 4.0.

Dymond Walker, Staff

The drastic changes inflicted on people’s lives by COVID-19 have wreaked havoc on our social and psychological health. The mental state of college students has been particularly affected, as they’ve been forced to work remotely and become physically isolated from their friends and instructors.

Although this social barrier has become prominent in our society, a health provider, TimelyMD, revealed that it will be partnering with the Foundation for California Community Colleges to bring fresh support to students.

In a press release last week, TimelyMD announced: “California’s Budget Act of 2021 includes $30 million in ongoing local assistance funds to support expanding the availability of mental health services available to CCC students.”

The extra health support given to the state’s community colleges could allow students to feel a sense of greater relief during this time, including those attending Diablo Valley College and others within the district.

DVC has strived to ensure that its students remain mentally and physically stable since the pandemic’s onset, said Emily Stone, dean of counseling and student success programs. But there have been challenges.

“The pandemic hasn’t affected everyone equally,” Stone wrote in an email to The Inquirer. “People from marginalized communities and people of color have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic in terms of their physical health.”

She added, “The pandemic has exacerbated inequalities already endemic in our healthcare system, and mental health outcomes are likely part of that larger problem.”

Since the national lockdown in March 2020, students have faced increased stress and pressure while growing accustomed to online learning, Stone said. In response, the school has offered a variety of services like TimelyCare to provide mental and medical support to students who are feeling overwhelmed.

“Students can talk with a mental health professional at any time and can also be evaluated by a physician,” Stone said.

In addition to these services, DVC offers an interdisciplinary CARE team with staff, administrators and faculty located throughout the campus. Stone said the pandemic has created growing mental health needs, and that from August 2021 to December, the school received “215 wellness/mental health and CARE team referrals.”

“We expect the final count at the end of the year to be higher than last year, probably above 400 students, more than twice what we had before the pandemic,” Stone added.