***Updated Information Regarding Services***
Starting Monday, January 25th, 2021
In these uncertain times, it is normal to experience increased feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns. As the university continues remote instruction in spring semester, the Counseling Center will be offering online counseling services to enrolled students. All services will solely be online to protect the health and safety of students, staff, and faculty.
If interested in mental health services, students will need to go through our Triage hours which are Monday – Friday between 1-3pm. Unlike in previous years where students walked-in for triage, students should call the Counseling Center (610-436-2301) on the same day they are interested in scheduling a triage appointment. These appointments are on a first-come, first-served basis, so we encourage students to call earlier in the day to reserve their timeslot for that afternoon. If your call is not answered, please leave a message and we will return your call as soon as possible.
Triage appointments will be occurring via phone and students will be sent an email with forms to complete. These forms must be completed in order to participate in the triage phone call.
During the triage session, students will discuss their concerns and options for counseling moving forward. Options may include: short-term online counseling via Zoom Health with a Counseling Center counselor, online group counseling via Zoom Health with Counseling Center counselor(s), or obtaining off-campus referrals for longer-term or specialized counseling via our referral specialist (Janelle Silbert; email@example.com). If students know they are solely interested in off-campus referrals, they can contact Ms. Silbert directly.
Please be advised that due to licensure rules, we may be limited in our ability to provide online counseling to students who will be located outside of Pennsylvania in the fall semester.
If a student is experiencing a life-threatening mental health emergency during business hours (Monday – Friday from 8 AM – 4 PM) and they need to talk to someone immediately, please call the Counseling Center (610-436-2301). Students in crisis are able to come to the Counseling Center office, we ask to please call before entering so that health and safety measures can be taken.
A mental health emergency is defined as:
· Suicidal thoughts with plan and intent
· Homicidal thoughts with plan and intent to harm another
· Survivor of a recent traumatic event (e.g., victim of a mugging, sexual assault, recent death)
· Experiencing hallucinations (visual or auditory)
Check out this "Am I in Crisis" Handout
We will also continue to provide virtual outreach services. If a class or student organization is interested in an online workshop or training, please contact our outreach coordinator (Liz Carper; firstname.lastname@example.org).
Click here for Resources for Coping with the impact of COVID-19 and other mental health concerns.
In Response to Race-Related Violence
The WCU Counseling Center condemns historical and recent acts of violence against BIPOC and other marginalized communities. We grieve the violent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and George Floyd, who represent the latest of many who have lost their lives in a relentless series of violence toward Black individuals and communities. We condemn the systemic intolerance and injustice experienced by individuals such as Christian Cooper, who suffered from harmful stereotyping and discrimination. We additionally condemn the ongoing harassment and violence aimed at Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders, including the recent deaths in Atlanta of Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, and Daoyou Feng. We strongly oppose discrimination, hate, and intolerance, and stand in solidarity with our Black, AAPI, and BIPOC students, faculty, and staff.
We recognize the relentless impact that prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination have on mental health and well-being, and we are here if you need to talk. Our department feels and understands the many reactions that can ensue from these events, such as fear, anger, and grief. We can join you in processing how systems of oppression and traumatic events impact your feelings, beliefs, and identities, and we can also help you connect to resources that feel safe and that resonate with you.
Though supporting our students who feel directly impacted by racism is paramount, we also strongly advocate for the antiracist education and allyship of all students, faculty, and staff. We hope that the resources on our Resources page resonate with the WCU community as ways in which we can both support those who are hurting and join together to facilitate a more inclusive and supportive environment for all.
The mission of the Department of Counseling and Psychological Services (The Counseling Center) is to promote the optimal health of all currently enrolled WCU students through the provision of quality and culturally competent mental health services and education for the campus community.
We are a short-term Counseling Center, so sessions are limited; however, we also have a Clinical Case Manager to assist with off-campus services. We are also a training site, meaning advanced doctoral students engage in the provision of therapeutic services to students under the supervision of licensed counselors. The Counseling Center is in Lawrence Center, Suite 241 -- it is a welcoming environment that appreciates multiculturalism and diversity.
In light of the sad news about several individuals who ended their lives, we are posting the following resources:
Suicide warning signs
Speaking of Suicide (podcast)
Resources on suicide prevention
It is important for everyone to know that taking one's life does not make it any better
for those who knew them. Individuals who are feeling depressed and suicidal sometimes think
it will ease the burden --that others will not miss them -- that is absolutely not
true. Everyone is loved and should know that there is hope! Life can be challenging,
and in this day of social media, it seems like everyone's life "on line" is great.
We know that simply is not true.
So, if you are feeling that you don't know where to turn and you are feeling hopeless, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Student Activism: In light of recent events, we provide the following suggestions.
The Most IMPORTANT way to care for yourself, is to: TAKE BREAKS
Activism is emotionally and physically exhausting. Give yourself permission to take breaks –you need to recharge!
Ways to take breaks:
Disengage from Social Media
- The onslaught of negative messages online can feel overwhelming. Disconnecting regularly is a good way to take a break and come back to the issues another time.
- You are such an important resource. Sometimes giving it your all means saying, “no.” This does not mean you don’t care about the issue – you just need some time to yourself.
- Your mental health is very important. Check in with yourself to see how you are feeling – remember that your emotions are valid. Make sure to be kind to yourself. If your emotions are intense, this may be a sign to take a step back.
- Make sure you are tending to your physical needs. This means eating well, staying hydrated, exercising, limiting substance use, and treating illness.
- Tend to your relationships. Spend time with friends. Call your family members. Share time with like-minded individuals.
Self-care looks different for everyone. Take some time to create a personal plan of how to take care of yourself and tend to your needs.
HOW TO DEAL WITH HATE SPEECH
There are times you may read or hear something bigoted, offensive, deplorable, or hateful. There are many ways to respond to this. Sometimes, it is most powerful to make your voice heard by speaking out. You can do this by addressing the source, posting online, joining a group/cause, talking to a government official or law officer, or speaking with family/friends. There are other times when your safety may feel threatened by speaking out. This is an important time to do what you need to do to take care of yourself. Never act violently – you may harm yourself or others. Instead, seek support from people you trust.
Remember that the work you do as an activist is courageous, empathic, and valuable. Be good to yourself while you be good to the world.
We realize that acts of massive violence are hard to understand and grasp. It is more widespread and you may feel afraid and traumatized just looking at the media coverage. The shootings may challenge your sense of safety, equilibrium, and hope for the future. For some, it will trigger memories and feelings that are difficult to process. These occurrences do elicit many different emotions, such as shock, sorrow, numbness, fear, and anger. You may have trouble sleeping, concentrating, and continuing with your coursework.
Here are some tips on managing your emotions and recovering your sense of balance:
- Talk about it and ask for support from friends, faculty, and staff.
- Be sensitive to your colleague’s feelings and reactions along with your own emotions.
- Turn off the social media. Give your brain a chance to recuperate and decrease your stress.
- Take care of yourself, exercise, eat normally and try to sleep.
- Use the LiveSafe app to report any unusual activity.
- If you feel unsafe, be around friends, have someone walk with you across campus and connect with others. Usually these tips are helpful during the crisis.
- For more information on how to cope and deepen your resilience, the following are good resources:
It's not always easy to navigate the transition when your student goes off to college. If you've ever wondered about the most effective ways to support your student now that they're at WCU, please take a look at the video. Parent/Families Message from the President
Making the Transition to College: Tips for Both Students and Families