The Counseling Center is making significant changes since the COVID-19 pandemic struck the United States, but it is offering online sessions.
Tyson Alexander, director of the Counseling Center, said it has seen an increase in stress and anxiety amongst current students.
The World Health Organization has acknowledged that the crisis is generating stress, and has advised people to avoid watching, reading or listening to news that causes feelings of anxiety or distress.
“I think our students already struggling with anxiety have tapped into a worldwide, global anxiety,” Alexander said. “I would absolutely confirm that anxieties with our students have risen.”
Another problem that Alexander and his staff have witnessed is students applying for the SOAR Program but not taking the next steps for online counseling.
“SOAR dramatically helps our students,” Alexander said. “It’s a program where you can anonymously recommend a student, faculty member or yourself. What SOAR does is it gets you connected with resources that you need, but we haven’t seen students take those next steps.”
Those struggling academically, financially or personally can get assistance from SOAR. A recommendation form can be filled out here.
The Counseling Center began moving online during spring break, giving them extra time to figure out what worked best.
“One of the biggest changes is moving all of our services online,” Alexander said. “So, we got everything prepared and ready for our team to provide all of our services online.
Online sessions have consisted from phone calls to platforms like Google Hangouts and Zoom.
Each session is $25, but that number can be flexible for students.
“We know that is dramatically less than any other place that a student can reach out to get counseling,” Alexander said. “We also know that times are tough, and we never want the financial piece to be a burden.”
The Counseling Center saw a decrease in appointments for the month of April. Typically, it sees around 500 appointment hours for the month. This year, however, it only saw 295 hours.
“It’s a little different,” Alexander said. “April is one of our busiest months, but we didn’t have that this year because not as many new people were reaching out.”
Heading into the summer, it expects to see an above-average number of appointments with online sessions. Alexander highly encourages students to reach out if they’re not sure if counseling is for them.
To apply for a counseling session, visit the link here.
“If you’re on the fence, go ahead and reach out,” Alexander said. “Counseling is not as scary and intimidating as people perceive it to be, and I have a wonderful team that I get to work with. Reaching out is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength.”