Flu season is finally coming to a close, but Salt Lake Community College’s Center for Health and Counseling addresses all kinds of student health issues year-round.
Salt Lake County saw 997 hospitalizations last year due to the illness. The Center for Health and Counseling offers free flu shots and hopes that SLCC students take advantage of them. Although the time to get a flu shot has mostly passed, the center still encourages students to come down to their office.
As Jessica Pettersson, the center’s health promotion and education manager, explains, “We are a one-stop shop for comprehensive medical care.”
Pettersson has been with the center for a little over a year now and wants to see more student use from their clinic.
“If you’re not feeling well, or need to figure some stuff out, we can help with that,” she says.
With a licensed nurse practitioner on staff, as well as a trained psychiatric nurse practitioner, the center is prepared to help in any way possible. The clinic offers services ranging from a regular check-up, lab work and testing, to counseling sessions and medication management.
Their on-site nurse practitioner, Terri Mehlhoff, mainly spends her time treating students and reassuring them that they are healthy.
“You know they [students] are mostly healthy,” she says, “they do really want information about health.”
The most common thing Mehlhoff has seen with students is an inability to treat the common cold.
“Sometimes students will come in, and they are in a panic, they’ve had a sore throat since this morning,” she says. “They desperately believe they need an antibiotic and want relief immediately, but often, it’s viral which could take two weeks to recover.”
Mehlhoff explains that the best remedy for a cold, or upper respiratory infection, is fluids and rest.
Students should avoid going for NyQuil or DayQuil as soon as they feel sick, says Mehlhoff, and reach for a bottle of zinc and vitamin C instead. She explains that vitamins and fluids will help a student’s immune system recover faster.
Getting over a common cold isn’t the only thing the Center for Health and Counseling can do for students.
Pettersson explains, “These are great services by professionals that really care and have such a large amount of knowledge to be able to share.”
On top of medical care, Pettersson says the center wants to help students focus on their own mental health journey.
With a push to get more students into the center, Pettersson emphasizes that the center is a low-cost way to get treatment when you need it.
“We don’t bill insurance and you don’t need insurance; we aren’t here to take students money,” Petterson says. “It’s a flat rate. Any additional services like labs and additional testing will be discounted.”
The center offers any medical office visits or counseling appointments for only $15. They also have a team of professional masseurs that you can book for $30.
“Massage is seen as a luxury item, but we focus on the medical side of it, how it improves your mental health and physical health,” Petterson explains.
To engage students, the center has also started offering “Wellness Wednesdays” at the Taylorsville Campus in the AAB building. With an emphasis on health education and wellness, they hope to make more students aware that the center is available when they need it.
“Honestly, all of our services are underutilized,” Petterson says. “I meet students every day that say, ‘Oh, I have been here for two years and didn’t even know you guys exist.’”
There are three Centers for Health and Counseling spread across SLCC at Taylorsville, South City and Jordan campuses. Making an appointment is simple, just give them a call.
Petterson says the center is for “the little and the big things,” and ready to listen and help whenever they can.