Grinnell’s Student Health and Counseling Services (SHACS) took on a new identity last semester with a new director and assistant director. Harriett Dickey-Chasins ’82 took over the director position from Stephanie Brown, who left for another job in early November.
Meanwhile, Deb Shill was promoted to position of assistant director and lead nurse. The new blood in the health center doesn’t stop there, as there are two new part-time employees, Pat Mitchell and Sarah Hopkins. The office now holds the same amount of therapist time, though it is currently conducting reviews of several candidates for another counseling position.
While there was a makeover of the staff roster, the center’s health goals remain the same.
“We want to support wellness, and I meet with students to discuss anxiety and pressure in their lives,” Dickey-Chasins said. “As well as those issues, I end up talking about sleeping regularly, getting enough water, food and fresh air, those things that are good for our body are also good for our mental health.”
The office will also continue working on similar campaigns to those they have conducted in semesters past. One particularly successful one was the flu vaccination work that gave 1,100 vaccines to students and faculty last semester. They ended up using up every vaccine that they had, and are now out.
SHACS will also lead a discussion on mental health later this semester.
They are constantly looking to expand these workshops and offer what the campus will truly find useful and so they will work diligently on developing a stress management program this semester. The staff remains open to suggestions and will ask for feedback from the community to see how best they can serve as many needs as possible.
They will also aim to ensure that as many large-scale influenza outbreaks are prevented as possible. Last semester, they saw a number of these cases and were able to adequately support students who were diagnosed by isolating them, not allowing them to infect the rest of the student body and moving them back to a stable level of health. They are well aware that more of the cases are likely on the horizon, but hope that with the care and attention they give to each of these individuals the gravity of these situations will be minimal.