With stress over the beginning of a new semester as well as the changes accompanying a pandemic, mental health is an important but often overlooked thing to take care of. Valpo’s Counseling Center, located on the north side of Alumni Hall, is a good resource for help. Despite COVID-19, the Counseling Center is continuing to provide services remotely and in addition to phone and video consultations, offers a wide range of online self-help resources.
In particular a program called Therapy Assistance Online (TAO) was recently updated to a new version. TAO is an interactive program aimed at helping manage anxiety and depression, as well as developing resilience and communication skills.
“On our website, there's just a plethora of support resources. And so we do have a mental health resources tab on our page. And then that tab is sort of split up into three different categories that students can choose of what type of situation they're looking for support on,” said Amber Mosley, assistant director of clinical services. “You know, whether they want like a web based support, whether they're looking for calling numbers, whether we're talking about crisis. And then students can kind of go through those things. And there's lots and lots of different websites that we've connected to, that provide different types of support.”
In terms of the types of support they provide and how it corresponds with their outreach programs, the Counseling Center will often consider current events.
According to Mosley, upcoming outreach campaigns may focus on themes corresponding to the events in that month, such as the time of the school year, breast cancer awareness and suicide prevention.
“If you all notice that first email you got from me, the week before you came back, is about preparing for the season, preparing to come back,” Mosley said. “So there's lots and lots of variables that we pull in to decide what type of outreach material we're going to push out that month.”
In addition to that outreach program, the Counseling Center has resources on its site related to recent news events. For instance, under the apps and websites tab, there is a link to a video posted about “Coping through Coronavirus,” which addresses some of the stress students may be feeling over the pandemic. There is also a short list of resources the Counseling Center has provided regarding “Coping and Combatting Racism and Discrimination.”
“We have tried to provide some resources that help to support some of what's happening,” Mosley said. “We want to try to stay relevant with what's happening in the world. So of course, we searched and found anti racism resources because even though racism as you know is a 450 500 year pandemic in this particular country, right now the world is really looking at it. And students are having to think about it in a way that they probably have not had to think about it in the past. And so it was important for us to make sure that we got those resources on.”
According to Mosley, the Counseling Center’s website is a good resource for any student to look at multiple times throughout their career at Valpo as it is updated with new resources. Mosley also adds that for some people, traditional counseling with regular meetings is not the best help, and self help tools can instead be a helpful approach.
“As a counseling center, we definitely recognize that sometimes a student needs counseling,” Mosley said. “But it's not always that they need a traditional format of counseling where they come into our offices, and we're going to have regular meetings. Some people, what they need is a self help tool, and that's going to be the better option for them for a myriad of reasons.”
The Counseling Center’s online resources are located on their page on valpo.edu, along with other contact information for the center’s services.