InFocus to provide mental health services

By Michelle Lampariello
Nation & World Editor

Students will soon see changes in their health care options for both medical and mental health come the Fall 2017 semester.

Once this semester ends, the TCNJ Clinic, which provides long-term mental care for students will close. Shortly thereafter on June 1, Campus Town’s InFocus Urgent Care will open its doors to students, offering both mental and physical health options.

“We have a small space for student counseling that is going to be a separate space from the urgent care (where there will be) counselors and clinical psychiatrists,” said Dr. Seeta Arjun, the head doctor and owner of InFocus Urgent Care.

Although a carbon monoxide alarm went off in urgent care on Thursday, April 6, the construction schedule was not affected, according to Arjun.

The urgent care will be a resource for “any type of non-life threatening injury,” Arjun said.

Those in need of X-rays, sutures, IV fluids or a diagnosis for symptoms such as a sore throat will be able to have these procedures taken care of at the Urgent Care.

Those with more serious health issues like appendicitis can be evaluated at the urgent care, but will be sent to the hospital.

InFocus Urgent Care is still able to aid mental health patients who cannot be treated at the facility.

“If someone needs in-patient care, we’ll be able to provide that referral,” Arjun said.

The mental health portion of the urgent care will also be located in Campus Town, but in a different area from the mavin urgent care location. The mental health component was included after a series of meetings between the urgent care and the College, during which it was determined that the College would benefit from having the urgent care as a long-term mental health care facility adjacent to the campus.

InFocus is under construction in Campus Town. (Jason Proleika / Photo Editor)

“(InFocus) saw an opportunity and a need. After having discussions with us, they realized that there was a need for a long-term mental health care component,” said Dr. Mark Forest, director of counseling and psychological services at the College.

The opening of InFocus Urgent Care coincides with the closing of the clinic in Forcina Hall at the end of the academic year. The clinic serves both students and community members as a connection to the counselor education program for graduate students to gain experience under supervision. Community members particularly benefited from the marriage and family counseling component of the clinic.

While CAPS will remain the primary mental health resource on campus following the close of the clinic and the opening of the urgent care, CAPS focuses on short-term care, as in students who need a semester or less of counseling.

“Some students benefit from more ongoing mental health care (and CAPS) traditionally used the clinic to refer students with longer term issues,” Forest said.

The clinic in Forcina Hall was a helpful tool for CAPS when a student needed long-term mental health care, especially if they did not have any means of getting off campus.

“For some students, especially the ones with no car, it was convenient to refer them there,” Forest said.

With the clinic closing, there was a need for long-term mental health resources for students, especially those who cannot have cars on campus.

“There aren’t a lot (of mental health resources) within walking distance. We did struggle with that — it’s easier when we have something adjacent. I feel really excited that there will be someone in Campus Town, especially (for) students with transportation issues and have longer term needs,” Forest said.

InFocus Urgent Care recognizes the opportunity to fill the gap in long-term mental health care left by the closing of the clinic.

“(The College) could use the help for students so that they don’t need to leave campus, especially if they need long-term care,” Arjun said.

Vice President for Student Affairs Amy Hecht sent an email to the campus community on Monday, April 10, explaining InFocus Urgent Care as a long-term mental health resource for students after the TCNJ Clinic closes, especially for students who are not able to leave the campus easily.

“We are happy to announce that ‘In Focus Urgent Care’ will not only be providing urgent medical care to the surrounding community, but will also have licensed mental health professionals on staff to offer longer-term counseling to TCNJ students in need of these services,” Hecht said.

Many students do not have cars on campus, especially during their freshman year. InFocus Urgent Care’s Campus Town location eliminates students’ need to travel for mental or physical health care that on campus health services cannot provide.

“I think having an urgent care is going to be a good, convenient resource for students,” said Kerstin Baran, a freshman biology major.

CAPS plans to maintain a strong relationship with the Urgent Care and work as a team to promote student wellness.

“I will continue to have an ongoing, collaborative relationship with the director of the urgent care,” Forest said.

Dean of Students and Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Angela Chong is happy to see the addition of InFocus Urgent Care to the list of student resources.

“It’s bringing mental health and medical health resources within walking distance to campus for our students, and that’s an amazing opportunity,” Chong said. “I’m always going to support any resources to augment wellness.”

The medical and mental health resources that InFocus Urgent Care will provide are equally important for students and community members.

“Both physical and mental health are critical. I wouldn’t prioritize one over the other. We think of wellness in a holistic way,” Chong said.

Students are anticipating the opening of the urgent care as an additional wellness resource.

“I think it’s is really beneficial because even though health services is a good tool, an urgent care offers more services that are especially good in a college environment, but it’s also good for the Ewing community, too,” said Abby Roberts, a freshman health and exercise science major.

Students believe that having InFocus Urgent Care as an additional health resource will help them continue to lead healthy, productive lifestyles.

“I feel that adding the urgent care center is setting a great foundation to ensure that our students have access to medical resources that will maintain proper health and provide the campus community the opportunity to stay healthy and be continuously productive on campus,” said Ryan Forkel, a sophomore health and exercise science major.

InFocus Urgent Care currently has a location in West Windsor, N.J., and looks forward to adding a second location in Campus Town.

1 Comment on InFocus to provide mental health services

  1. If we care about mental health so much, why are we closing the clinic? If we care about nurturing a hearthy relationship with the community, why are we estranging the neighboring families that have been building rapports with the clinicians? The decision to close the clinic was not based on concern for our student body nor the community, and this is a lousy, half assed response to the general outcry. Shame on this administration.

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