WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — A year of uncertainty changed everything, especially the college experience.
“For college students who maybe haven’t had enough practice figuring out what are the things I do to take care of myself, it’s made it particularly hard for them,” said Dr. James Raper, the assistant VP for Health and Well-Being at Wake Forest University.
Counselors at Winston-Salem State University and Wake Forest University are seeing more kids reach out and ask for help.
“We’ve definitely had a great influx of students being intentional and reaching out and say, hey, I’m not in a good place, I need to talk to a counselor,” said Dr. Teri Tilford Jones, director of Counseling Services at WSSU.
Students aren’t just taking the first step, they’re sticking with it. Record numbers of students across the nation are keeping up their counseling appointments.
“Students are showing up for their appointments and it makes sense when you think about teletherapy when you have a safe space to have that computer on and have those conversations with a counselor,” Raper said. “For many of us, that’s a very good thing.”
Campus leaders believe talking about mental health can’t just be an appointment-by-appointment approach.
“How do we show up in our residence halls? How do we show up with faculty in our classrooms? What do the leaders of student organizations know and care for one another?” Raper said.
Universities in the Triad are adding training for campus leaders and faculty, and taking a closer look at building more wellness days into the school calendar to give students a break.
“We gave them the day off,” Jones said. “But we also gave them some experiences to empower them with ideas and information to do more wellness activities in their lives.”
WSSU is also planning a pilot program bringing in counselors to each one of the residence halls. Those counselors will plan activities and try to help students they think could be at risk.