The Adams Center is always grateful to host Tyson Alexander, Director of the Counseling Care Center. Tyson shared some current trends the counseling center is seeing with faculty recently.
It likely won’t come as a surprise that the counseling center is seeing significantly more students. They’re seeing more intakes than they’ve ever seen. Many of the issues students are seeking help in dealing with Covid related issues. The mental and emotional exhaustion of the past year and a half is being felt by faculty, staff, and students.
Tyson reminded us of some of the features of the Counseling Care Center.
- The telehealth option can be utilized for physical illness or mental health situations.
- Each residence hall has an on-call component so that a counselor is assigned to that block of students.
- A normal counseling appointment costs $25.
- The counseling offered is considered professional, not pastoral. Sometimes there is confusion about this. Tyson said, “We are not Christian Counselors, but rather Counselors who are Christians.”
He also shared some of the most recent trends they are seeing among students at the Counseling Care Center.
- Students are coming in mostly for anxiety, but often depression.
- More students report body image concerns.
- Racing thoughts have increased.
- Self-harm and suicidal thoughts have increased in the past couple years.
- They are seeing an increase in unwanted sexual experiences.
Faculty are often approached by students who are experiencing mental or emotional struggles, but many faculty feel ill-equipped to navigate these situations. Tyson offered one very practical idea for faculty. He said for some students, they believe that stress they feel is diagnosable anxiety. Stress, to some degree, can actually serve as a motivator! A little healthy stress causes us to finish a paper or study for an exam. He suggested that we verbalize to students that it is normal to feel stressed about a test and that when managed appropriately, can motivate us to study and complete tasks. So students need to learn to manage stress. One of the simplest ways we can encourage students to manage stress is to “Treat themselves like a toddler!” Eating, sleeping, and physical activity are all natural stress reducers that students often neglect.
And as always, Tyson expressed his gratitude for the way faculty cares so deeply for students at ACU.