Students have access to a variety of tools and support from Elon Counseling Services after returning to campus following months of social distancing and precautions taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
With students, faculty and staff back on campus full-time following months of online learning to conclude the 2019-20 academic year, Elon Counseling Services is offering support to students during what could be a stressful transition.
A recent report by several youth mental health advocacy organizations found that 58 percent of college students surveyed nationwide were “moderately,” “very” or “extremely” concerned about their own mental health. Another 46 percent said they felt anxiety specifically about returning to college campuses for the fall semester. For that reason, it is important for students to pay close attention to their mental wellness.
“As much as students can proactively consider their mental health and do positive coping and make healthy lifestyle decision that can keep them from slipping into more of a negative mental health state, especially with everything going on right now,” said Dr. Marie Shaw, director of Elon Counseling Services.
During the transition back to campus, Counseling Services is offering a number of expanded services and continuing its mission of advancing the educational mission of Elon by providing quality psychological interventions, outreach and consultation services to address the emotional, social and academic needs of Elon students.
Enrolled Elon students located in North Carolina can take advantage of the office’s Telemental Health (TMH) services throughout the academic year. The virtual sessions are a seamless, HIPAA-compliant service, allow students to take part in clinical assessments, individual counseling, psychiatric evaluations and psychiatric follow-ups. Counseling Services has identified spaces across campus to give students private locations to take part in TMH sessions:
- Powell basement (entrance by Haggard Ave), rooms 001, 003, and 006
- Study rooms in Belk Library (masks are required to be worn in all library spaces)
- Numen Lumen, room 214
- Mind-Body Connection space located past the entry desk in Koury Center through the first door on the left. Room in the back of that space available M/W/F 1:30–5 p.m. and T/Th 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m., except Sept. 3, Oct. 1, and Nov. 5
For students seeking services off campus, the office has developed an online referral database to connect students with outside mental health providers. If a student needs additional support in connecting with a community provider, they can also consult with the counselor/clinical case manager by calling the office at (336) 278-7280.
Counseling Services also offers a number of virtual services to help students. Let’s Talk provides students with easy access to free, casual conversations with clinicians without an appointment. Let’s Talk drop-ins are open to all currently enrolled Elon students who would like to talk to a Counseling Services clinician about anything that is important to them.
The WellTrack app lets students track their moods, feelings and thoughts while providing coping mechanisms to mitigate intense stress levels. The app, which is available in the Apple and Google Play stores, helps students to better understand and maintain mental wellness through all of their life events.
Counseling Services also offers a number of workshops and support groups for students from a variety of backgrounds to take a broad, holistic approach to mental wellness among the campus community.
Along with a number of faculty and staff mentorship services, Counseling Services has recently launched a new training – Kognito At-Risk – for faculty, staff and students. Kognito is an online simulation that allows users to practice difficult conversations with virtual students to learn the skills necessary to best support students who might be in distress or crisis.
Shaw encourages students to pay close attention to their mood and seek help if they find themselves in need during this transition. If students are unsure if they should seek help, they can also complete an anonymous online mental health screening.
“Strength often is reaching out for help, and when we think about self-reflection and how to continue to be lifelong learners, therapy is really a great process of that,” Shaw said. “I think anyone can benefit from enhancing and thinking of ways to promote their mental health just like their physical health.”
Counseling Services can be reached Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The office can be reached by calling (336) 278-7280. A Counselor On-Call is also available for crisis situations 24/7 by calling Campus Safety & Police dispatch at (336) 278-5555 and requesting to speak with the counselor on-call.