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Mental Health

About Student Health and Counseling Services: Why You Should Check it Out

This time of the year, stress runs as rampant as the flu, and there’s no shot to prevent it. You can, however, work toward managing it with a professional’s help inside the Student Health & Counseling Services building when it gets too much to bear.

The Student Health & Counseling Services facility sits on the edge of campus behind Cooper Hall and offers free mental and physical treatment to keep students at their healthiest. Along with three available counselors to listen and offer their expertise, the center also has a nurse practitioner available to take patients.

Appointments for counseling can be made from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Walk-in times are also available between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sessions can be scheduled for 30 minutes to an hour and a half. Counselors each have a master’s degree in social work and rotate leading sessions every two hours.

“I tell all students that come to counseling that asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness,” said clinical coordinator, Jenifer Hart.  “It is much better to put two heads together to try and figure out solutions to problems. Those solutions may just be learning and implementing positive coping skills on how to deal with life stressors.”

According to Hart, most students who seek counseling are seen for issues like stress, low self-esteem and relationship problems. She also said that depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Bipolar disorders are common. Counselors assess students and can recommend alternative resources or medical evaluation if deemed necessary.

Sessions are confidential except in cases where students admit to suicidal thoughts, that they want to hurt another person or if they have knowledge of a child, elderly person or disabled person is being abused. Screening for depressed mood and personal safety is also done through assessment that each patient must complete before they are seen. Otherwise, appropriate personnel cannot say whether someone has been in counseling without a written consent of the person in question. Files are also electronic records that can only be accessed by a Student Health and Counseling Services employee.

During this particularly stressful time of year, Hart recommends that students exercise, rest, keep a well-balanced diet, wash your hands and keep your distance from those that are sick.  

Don’t be one of the 8 in 10 college students that experience frequent stress, as reported by the Associated Press. Know that you have an on campus resource that can help guide you through it.

To make a counseling appointment, call 731-881-7750 and to learn more visit www.utm.edu.

Kristina is a News Editorial and Public Relations major from the Nashville area who also serves as Executive Editor of The Pacer. She's a procrastinating workaholic who likes to travel and cheer on the Preds.
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