By AIDEN BLANKENSHIP
This semester, Amarillo College has a new mental and physical health program in the counseling department. Run primarily by counseling center coordinator Jerrod Hinders, TimelyCare offers completely free healthcare to all current AC students and staff. However, TimelyCare is not available for continuing education students or for high school dual credit students. This service is available 24/7, to allow people to get help with issues at any time that works for them, including on weekends and late at night. The goal of making this service available at any time will allow students to work around their schedules much easier.
“We don’t want students to have to choose between coming to class and seeing a doctor or seeing a counselor,” said Hinders “We also don’t want them to have to choose between coming to class and getting care for their children or for their husband or their wife.”
TimelyCare is divided into two sections. One section is for clients with physical issues and one is for clients with mental issues. Physical issues are handled similarly to going to a family practitioner. Working with a doctor to discuss your current health status and what the problem may be.
On the mental side, it’s similar to meeting with an in-person therapist. “Sessions will be 15 minutes between the therapist and the student,” Denese Skinner, Vice President of Student Affairs, said. “They’ll decide what are the treatment goals, and what is the student wanting to work on and then address what the student’s need is.”
The doctors and therapists that students meet with can also prescribe medications at a discounted price, making medication more affordable on top of TimelyCare being a completely free service.
The idea of TimelyCare came from people’s need for health care from remote locations, something that became popular in 2020. “Really since COVID, we saw a huge increase in the demand for telehealth services. And it’s a really great equitable option for our students and that a lot of our students need options that are in the evenings or on weekends,” said Hinders.
Patients get to choose how they meet with their doctor or therapist. They can choose to meet over the phone, by text or by video. This allows for TimelyCare to reach all AC campuses including Dumas and Hereford. There are even some students already using TimelyCare all the way from Oklahoma and New Mexico according to Hinders.
“I actually didn’t know that AC offers those free programs,” said Kaytone Melton, a psychology major, said. “I think it’s truly amazing that they implemented them for faculty and students for free. I believe that these programs are going to benefit and help a lot of people all over the campus, and it’s nice to know that someone will be there if I ever need help.”
More information about TimelyCare can be found on the AC website, or contact Jerrod Hinders in room 227 on the second floor of the Student Service Center.