Who Wants a Free Massage?

Wellness Services You Already Paid For

By Megan Kilduff

Feeling stressed? You can meet with a counselor or schedule a massage therapy or acupuncture session between classes free of charge. These are just some of the resources available to all enrolled BCC students at the new Health Services Center, located behind the classrooms on the first floor of 2000 Center Street in Room 110.

Also known as the Wellness Center, the space provides a number of basic medical and mental health services throughout the week. Best of all, because these programs are funded in part by the $18 health fee included in our enrollment each semester, all of these resources are available to Peralta students without additional charge.

District Clerical Assistant for Health Services, Veronica Crawford explained that, “not too many students know why they pay the health fee and what services are provided,” so she tries to boost awareness about the offerings.

To break it down, students pay an $18 health fee at the beginning of every fall and spring semester in which they enroll in classes, and a $15 health fee during summer session. This gives all Peralta students access to the Health Services programs available at every Peralta campus. At BCC, this includes medical services, mental health services, acupuncture, and massage.

Students can drop by the new BCC Wellness Center to meet with a medical assistant for health concerns —including preliminary physical exams, HIV testing, pap smears, flu shots, and tuberculosis exams—on Mondays and Wednesdays. If a student hasn’t had an eye exam in the last two years, the medical assistant can supply him or her with a voucher for an eye exam at the affiliated optometrist in Oakland’s Chinatown. This qualifies students for an eye exam for only a $10 co-pay and for discounts on prescription lenses.

A counselor is also available at the new Wellness Center for mental health assistance—whether it is for grief, anxiety, stress, or anything else— Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. To set up an appointment, a student can email jgreer@peralta.edu.

To provide acupuncture and massage, the service most utilized by students, the district partners with Octagon Community Wellness Center. Licensed therapists are available for appointments at the BCC Wellness Center on Tuesdays from 9a.m. to 1p.m. throughout the semester. A student may make up to three appointments per semester, which can be scheduled online at ccauc.net.

Due to high demand, appointments are taken very seriously. Students must arrive on time or they risk forfeiting their appointments. Students who do not show up may be blocked from making another appointment for four months.

There are a number of offerings available at the BCC Wellness Center that don’t even require meeting with a nurse or counselor. The center provides informational handouts on topics like nutrition, HIV, vaping, breast exams, UTIs, and alcoholism. It also has resources on consent; sexual assault awareness and prevention; and information on the Campus Safety Aide, a service that escorts students to their cars. Students can even get free condoms!

Crawford explained that in the last year there has also been an introduction of information on local short and long-term housing options for homeless students. These students are encouraged to reach out to Wellness Center programs and counselors as needed. If you’re seeking assistance after hours, the Center lists contact information for local medical and mental health providers and hotlines open 24/7, including:

Crisis Support Services of Alameda County: 800-309-2131

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)

This new space replaces the previous Health Services Center, which was located in the South Campus Annex last year. Earlier this year, a press release from BCC administration reported that the old building is due to be torn down.

The advantage of the new location is its convenience. Because the Center is just two doors down from BCC’s main building, students can easily drop by or schedule an appointment between classes. I did just that, and booked a massage treatment with the specialist on staff, Stephanie, for right before an exam. That service helped me walk into the exam less stressed, calmer, and more focused.

BCC students have access to Health Services at every Peralta campus. This includes access to meeting with Patient Navigator John Holman, who can help students apply for CAL Fresh, MediCal and Covered California. While his office is at Laney, he can come to other campuses upon request. More information on the hours and services of Health Services Centers at other campuses is available on the Peralta Health Services website.

The Health Services department holds periodic workshops—including the recent Mental Heath Awareness Week panel held in the Atrium—to help students and boost awareness services. To stay updated on these kinds of events, students can consult the Peralta Student Health Services page on Facebook.

To make it easier to utilize these services, I’ve broken down when each of the three branches of the new BCC Wellness Center operates and how to book appointments below.

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