Do you want to talk about it? – The Guilfordian

Removing barriers to accessing Guilford’s mental health resources

Sarah Smiley

Guilford Counseling and Wellness Center offers one-on-one counseling services at 1203 Rachel Carson Court.

According to the Healthy Minds Study 2013-2021, over 60% of college students meet criteria for at least one mental illness. Student mental health is a pressing concern for professors and administrators, especially as the need for support and counseling – a need that has been dramatically escalated by the pandemic – exceeds the resources colleges can currently provide.

“Colleges have limitations and they have limitations because they get a certain amount of money,” said Jameson Sellers, Guilford College’s crisis and wellness counselor, who has worked at the Student Health and Counseling Center since August 2022. “I think with what we’re doing on a reallocation, we’re doing our best.”

Sellers and her colleagues provide a variety of services, including personal, sexual, and relationship health education. “Basically, our mission is to create opportunities that support the overall well-being and health of students, whether that be by connecting them with a doctor or psychiatrist or by providing counseling,” Sellers said.

The Guilford Counseling Center is one of hundreds of college student health services that provide essential services to students in need. According to a report by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Pennsylvania State University, more than 1 million students made appointments with counseling centers at their schools in the 2021-2022 school year.

“[Counseling centers]can be the hub where students come in and let us know what they’re going through and we connect them to other places,” Sellers said.

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At Guilford, Counseling Center staff often reach out to students to encourage them to come to the center and speak with professional counselors such as Sellers, or help students connect with off-campus resources to address their concerns . Sellers said the first hurdle is often getting students into conversations with counselors, “because the students don’t know there’s an office, or they don’t know anyone personally in that office, they’re not really motivated to close the office.” get out of (their) comfort zone and go into this space.”

Access to mental health resources is a growing concern. The stigma surrounding mental health and therapy is keeping some students from asking for help and others uncomfortable with face-to-face meetings during a pandemic. According to a recent report by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health, in 2022, 51.4 percent of meetings with college counseling services in the United States were over video, while 36.9 percent of meetings were in person. The Guilford Counseling Center offers several meeting format options, including a Zoom option, but booking is a challenge for some students, especially since 64.9 percent of students seeking counseling at colleges report anxiety, including social anxiety, as per the report indicate concerns.

“Students can call, they can email, or they can come in (to make an appointment) but what would be amazing would be some sort of online system where you can book an appointment online and get it done in three seconds, and then you have your appointment,” Sellers said. She hopes that more accessible and less stressful booking and communication options would encourage more students to get in touch.

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Many students know little about the counseling services Guilford offers, making them less likely to seek help.

“I’ve heard almost nothing about it,” said Eva Doyle, a sophomore at Early College in Guilford. “I feel these services are not available to me. Is it a building on campus? How can I speak to them?”

Vendors want to combat this lack of information by raising awareness of what the wellness center can do through social media and classroom visits. She hopes this outreach will show students that the counseling center has a vibrant presence on campus and is ready to provide services.

There is no shame in seeking help for any health condition, whether mental or physical. Students can contact the Counseling and Wellness Center and ask questions or email to schedule a free, confidential session [email protected]call (336) 316-2163 or visit the center’s offices at 1203 Rachel Carson Court, open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m