Dealing with mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic can be stressful. Luckily, Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) at the University of New Mexico is available to students during this time, over the summer and in the future as well.

All regular services of SHAC are currently open, such as counseling, acupuncture, appointments, nutrition, pharmacy, physical therapy, sexual and reproductive health services and call-ahead coronavirus-related visits for students who may have symptoms.

“We are having people do telephone or Zoom appointments. There has been a slight increase in calls but not necessarily COVID related,” said Victoria Cee, manager at SHAC. “We are all functional, everything in the SHAC is open, (but) students do have to call ahead of time or call when they are in the building.”

SHAC accepts most insurance providers excluding Medicare, and counseling appointments range from $5-10 a visit.

“Our lab is open, our x-ray is open, we are offering acupuncture and massage, and counseling services are absolutely open for students,” Cee said. “Just call the SHAC telephone number to make an appointment.”

Many students have taken advantage of these services through UNM during the summer, such as Theresa M. Braig.

“SHAC is open, which I’m very thankful for, although sometimes it is difficult to get a phone meeting or a Zoom meeting just because of circumstances,” Braig said. “I like SHAC because it’s available, and relatively free. I really like the fact that they have acupuncture.”

In order to reduce the risk of transmission from the virus, many visits may be conducted by telephone.

“The event of just talking to someone else through counseling helps my mental health a lot,” Braig said.

One of the resources available currently through SHAC is  “Go Ask Alice!,” a resource that provides students with medical questions and answers for various medical needs.

“It has been slower since most of the students are off campus during the summer, but we are still taking plenty of phone calls and seeing patients as needed,” Cee said. “We’re here for the students — that’s why we stayed open once the shutdown started, and we are available anytime.”

SHAC also helps students quit smoking with tobacco cessation options, such as information provided about the dangers of smoking. In addition, SHAC offers a pharmacy to fill prescriptions, counseling, referrals to support groups and over-the-counter medications to help quit.

To schedule an appointment, receive counseling, get referrals for support groups, telephone visits or Zoom meetings with any services provided with UNM’s Student Health and Counseling Center, call SHAC at 505-277-3136.

Lauren McDonald is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @old_mcdonald25