When the words “…should talk to a therapist” or “…should really see someone about this” enter a conversation, it may sound more of a condemnation than practical advice to many of us. “This isn’t a thoughtful recommendation of a valid path to health, it’s an insult,” said Ryan Howes, Ph.D. in an essay for Psychology Today.

The stigma surrounding mental health counseling and therapy may not be as strong as it once was – after all, we are arguably exposed to more traumatic events on a daily basis than in previous decades – but there may still be some general reluctance of people to consider talking to a therapist due to lingering notions that therapy is for the mentally ill or severely troubled. “We go to therapy to treat problems as well as improve an already decent life.” Howes said.

The free and open counseling resources on UCC’s campus are available to everybody, including UCC faculty, and it should be emphasized that the use of these services (which include the Resiliency Room, ESB 9) do not require that a person has a mental health “issue” or an emotional crisis to tackle.

The Administrator of UCC’s Mental Health and Recovery services was contacted and unavailable for further comments, however, Western Virginia University addresses some of these concerns on their website by offering facts and suggestions to help broaden understanding of these services.

Counseling can help with the following:

  • Using personal strengths and attributes in a variety of situations
  • Identifying problem areas and factors that attribute to difficulties and dissatisfaction
  • Improving stress – management skills
  • Building self-confidence and self-esteem
  •  Enhancing the quality of relationships
  • Making better decisions
  • Leading a more satisfying and fulfilling life

Facts about counseling:

  • Counseling benefits many types of people; those with chronic problems and those with situational concerns.
  • Counselors will respect your autonomy and help you to make your own decisions
  • For the most part, counseling is confidential and information will not be shared unless you give your own written consent (counselors go over confidentiality limits at the onset of counseling).
  • Counseling can help with both short-term and long-term problems, and length of time can be decided between you and your counselor.

Lack of utilization could potentially jeopardize the availability of counseling resources on the UCC campus, as federal grant funding that had been dispersed in response to the October 1 tragedy is supplemented from other sources and also reimbursed to some agencies, drawing the sustainability of the services into question. Funding to extend the program is still in negotiation processes, however.

  Some of the ongoing services currently offered in ESB 9 include:

  • Caregivers Support and Information Group – First Monday of each month at noon
  •  PTSD Support and Management Group – 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month at noon
  • Single Parent Support and Information Group – 3rd Monday of each month at noon
  • Grief and Loss Support and Information Group – 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month at noon

Students and faculty alike are welcome and encouraged to visit the Mental Health and Recovery services in the Educational Services Building, ESB 9 for any reason, even if only to de-stress or just relax in the Resiliency Room. The UCC Mental Health and Recovery Services can be reached at (541) 440–7900.