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The Scarlet & Black

GRMC works to assist students

In response to the growing concern from students over the future of Student Health and Counseling Services (SHACS), the Grinnell Regional Medical Center (GRMC) has begun an effort to fill these gaps for students. As the hospital serving the town of Grinnell, GRMC encourages students to look into the options they offer as a part of their mental health care facilities.

Todd Linden, President and CEO of Grinnell Regional Medical Center, became aware of student concerns about the state of mental health resources on campus through conversations with students. He wants to increase awareness on campus of the benefits GRMC can provide for students who felt they have been let down by the current Grinnell College services and encourages students to explore their options.

“If we work together, we might be actually be able to make sure that there aren’t students who are unaware or looking for something that they didn’t know existed,” Linden said.

Linden hopes that increased information on campus will help students get the help they need more efficiently, specifically with regards to pressing mental health issues.

“We’re building a team of counselors to have available at SHACS for drop-ins and scheduled services for what I would call more short-term needs,” Linden said.

GRMC is continuing its efforts to interview and hire more personnel for mental counseling to add to those already available at SHACS. Linden pointed out the national shortage of professional mental health counselors, which is making it hard for GRMC to hire new faculty even when providing competitive salaries.

“We can’t post a position and have thirty applicants. There’s thirty positions looking for every individual that’s qualified out there to provide these services, so it’s going to take a while for us to build a team that fully meets the needs of the services at SHACS,” Linden said.

Grinnell Regional Medical Center President and CEO Todd Linden considers the College and integral part of the community. Contributed photo.
Grinnell Regional Medical Center President and CEO Todd Linden considers the College and integral part of the community. Contributed photo.

Due to the difficulties posed by assembling a full team of counselors, Linden and GRMC are offering mental health services to students in many forms.

“While we continue to build a team, we do have a scheduled, set aside number of hours each week at the Grinnell Regional Mental Health Center that’s available for either seeing our psychiatric nurse practitioner or psychiatrist for prescription management or longer term kind of therapy services, along with the therapist we’ve got on campus,” Linden said.

These services are available for students, and information regarding these hours can be found on the GRMC website or by calling the Grinnell Regional Mental Health Center at 641-236-2347.

Linden also pointed out the role that physicians in the Grinnell community, outside of GRMC, have played in the healthcare of students over the years.

“For many, many years the family practice physicians in Grinnell have provided lots of services to students,” Linden said. “Many of the family practice physicians do therapy and counseling as well.”

Students have had success working with both doctors in Grinnell and their physicians at home with managing health problems, prescriptions and other issues that may arise over their college career. GRMC sees this as an option for students looking for more comprehensive mental health care.

GRMC also has a new Emergency Care Center that opened last year, which provides mental health services for those with immediate needs when offices aren’t open. This resource is open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with some hours on Saturday.

“We’re glad that there are concerns being voiced so that we know about them and so that we can work hard to do our best, our mission and our values are about meeting the community’s health needs and obviously the Grinnell College campus is an integral part of our campus,” Linden said.

There are a number of options provided for students seeking medical and mental help outside of SHACS, and it is important to GRMC that students know how to access them. GRMC hopes that students will feel comfortable enough in understanding how to access these options to look outside of the immediate college community when considering how to meet their health needs.

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