Two College Health Practitioners Talk About Physical and Mental Health as School Year Begins

Two College Health Practitioners Talk About Physical and Mental Health as School Year Begins

Rory Kelly
Editorial Contributor

The Mary Christie Foundation produced a podcast episode for their Quadcast featuring two experts on  college student health: family practitioner Jill Grimes and psychiatrist Marcia Morris. The doctors covered a number of areas in the twenty-minute episode, including content from their respective books. Themes included student self-care, self-education, and self-empowerment as ways to better navigate campus healthcare systems, tips on accessing mental health care, and how all of this is impacted by COVID-19.

Dr. Jill Grimes practices in Austin, TX and is the author of “The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook.” She vouches for the value of student self-care and self-education. As a physician in a college town, she treats a number of college students and often gets the same questions such as when to take Tylenol versus Advil and what to do to recover from food poisoning. She began to create college care packages for family friends heading off to college that included a booklet with answers to these common questions. The booklet grew over the years as Dr. Grimes added more and more information, and as a result, became her latest book. 

Dr. Grimes spoke to the benefits of student wellness education, which are felt by both the student as well as the campus and/or community healthcare system. If students are more informed before requesting care, they will be better able to communicate their symptoms and care needs, which not only improves the student experience but also reduces inefficiencies and surplus demand for the campus and community healthcare systems.

Dr. Marcia Morris serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Florida and as the Associate Program Director of SHCC Psychiatry.  She is the author of “The Campus Cure: A Parent’s Guide to Mental Health and Wellness for College Students.” Dr. Morris noted that during the pandemic, students face increased experiences with financial strain, loneliness, and uncertainty-- all of which greatly impact mental health. Shifts to remote learning and social distancing have increased barriers to mental health care, while the boom in telehealth services across American colleges and universities has made care more accessible for some. Dr. Grimes stated that a silver lining of the pandemic is the increased accessibility to mental health services at many schools. Students who previously did not wish to physically enter the counseling center on campus, for example, can now receive therapy privately and more conveniently via telemental health.

The Mary Christie Foundation is a nonprofit thought leadership affiliate of Christie Campus Health. The MCF examines the emotional and behavioral health of young adults, with a focus on college students, through its convening, publishing and research efforts.

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