Students adapt to virtual counseling


The University’s Counseling Center has begun offering teletherapy services. The UCC is located in the Student Union Annex room 303 A, next to the Center for Student Excellence.

As circumstances have continued to change, the face of mental health on campus has changed as well.

Maintaining relationships with campus services might be a struggle for some students. The University Counseling Center has provided their services through new channels such as teletherapy, but the virtual approach to counseling is an experience that students are unfamiliar with.

Annette Newton-Baldwin, assistant director of programming and outreach for the UCC, described the main struggles students are facing this semester.

“We are seeing grief and adjustment issues,” said Newton-Baldwin. “Students are having to live with being disappointed with expectations and social opportunities not being met. It is tough to have a healthy social community and follow social distancing guidelines.”

Newton-Baldwin feels that, while the approach is different, counseling remains a comfortable option for students.

“I think the difference between this semester and previous semesters is that our staff is having to be more creative in providing options for our students,” explained Newton-Baldwin. “I don’t think it is harder for students to feel comfortable attending counseling due to current limitations, I just think it is different.”

Samantha Ellis, a junior psychology major, supports the use of mental health services. She has resumed her counseling sessions through the center’s teletherapy services.

“I have continued to use the UCC services through the telemental health services that they offer,” shared Ellis. “I mainly meet with my therapist virtually nowadays, I have not visited the counseling center this semester yet.”

For Ellis, current limitations have not tarnished her relationship with counseling.

“I do not think that the current restrictions have influenced the effectiveness of counseling because I am still able to talk about everything I want to during a virtual session as I would in a face-to-face meeting,” said Ellis. “I am still receiving amazing counseling.”

Ellis encouraged students to fully utilize the services provided at the counseling center, especially as they enter uncharted territory.

“I think it is exponentially important for students to continue looking after their mental health during these circumstances because we are all navigating a world that we have no previous experience in,” explained Ellis. “We are all taking each day as it comes, and some days might be much more difficult than others.”

Ellis shared that having someone to listen can be the best version of help, even if it is conducted virtually.

“Honestly, it is just good to have someone to vent to and to have someone listen without a biased opinion,” mentioned Ellis. “A counselor is someone who is there to just listen, and having someone to listen can sometimes be the best version of help you need.”

Newton-Baldwin gave similar advice.

“My advice to students is to take the time for healthy self-care during these times,” said Newton-Baldwin. “The Counseling Center is an option for support.”