JONESBORO, Ark. A complete transition to online college classes abruptly during the semester can bring on many challenges, some at the expense of a student’s mental health.
Dr. Phil Hestand at the a-state counseling center say’s he’s seen an increase in patients since covid-19 and are ready to help.
“For many students this has been a very disruptive thing in their lives, particularly those who have lived on campus or in the area that have stayed with us,” says Hestand. “Our university becomes an extended family and even thought you might think students would say “yay we don’t have to go to class anymore” but they’ve really lost connection and structure.”
Hestand says it is common for students to feel symptoms of grief during this time.
The counseling center is now seeing over one hundred patients per week via an online HIPPA compliance service called therapy assisted online or TAO.
Each staff member has gone through certified mental health online training.
The center has had TAO for two years and it Hestand says it put them ahead of the game when transition to online services.
They are also offering outreach programs as well.
“Our main reason for doing that was to save some time for some students who have a difficult time making appointments and getting to campus,” says Hestand. “So, when the COVID virus pandemic began we were ready to transition to that so now we’re fully online. We’ve been doing some outreach activities as well, that deal with anxiety during the pandemic.”
The counseling center has blocked off three hours per day to take in new clients. They also resources on their website to help students going through this pandemic.