Support Student Mental Health


Supporting Student Mental Health

We have all been through a lot between the Fall 2020 outbreak on campus, the pandemic and the racial reckoning that we have witnessed this past 18 months. The Counseling Center offers the following tips and resources for supporting student mental health as we return to campus in Fall 2021.

Tips for Supporting Student Mental Health

There are ways to support students that anyone, not just counselors, can do to make a meaningful difference in student mental health. Not only is mental health fundamental to a student’s general well-being, but research shows that mental health is among the strongest predictors of academic success (Reetz, D.R., & Brownson, C. 

(2018, October). Academic success, well-being and faculty prevention and early intervention training: Current findings and applications from the National Research Consortium of Counseling Centers in Higher Education. Presented at the annual conference of the Association for University and college Counseling Center Directors, New Orleans, LA.).  

Connection – Real, in-person connection can be very important to a student who is struggling. Chatting with students about how they are doing before and after class, starting classes with a check-in about how it is for the students to be back or how their stress level is starting class or at midterms. Go beyond just “I’m fine” and give the message “No really, how are you doing?” Paying attention to how the students are doing overall makes them feel cared about and supported. It will also make them more likely to reach out if they need help. 

Community – Feeling important and a part of a community is important to everyone’s mental health. Helping students to feel part of the class and connected to their peers helps them feel important and like they matter. Group work, small group discussions in class, checking in with students when they are absent, and community building activities like ice breakers and get-to-know-you activities can help students feel like they are an important part of the class, their major, or their club. Feeling like you are a part of a community that cares about you is an important protective factor in students’ adjustment back to college.

Competence – Helping students to see their own strengths and gifts has great impacts on their mental health. Even if a student gets a poor grade on something, pointing out their strengths or some good point they made can make a difference to students. Many students have struggled massively in the on-line mode of education. Their grades may be poorer than they are used to. Confidence in their own strengths and sense of competence is shaken. Helping them to find their passion and strengths is so helpful for a student’s mental health. 

Imposter syndrome – Many students, especially students from marginalized identities experience imposter syndrome, meaning they feel like they don’t really belong at college and they don’t want to ask for help because they are afraid you will realize they aren’t good enough to be here. Make sure every student knows they belong here and that you won’t judge them for asking for help. Normalize that everyone has a bit of imposter syndrome and share your own stories. Also, they may need to hear more than once that its ok to ask for help.

Counseling Center Services

The Counseling Center is providing tele-counseling for students who are physically in NY State. Services include: 

  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling – anxiety support, grief, and relationship issues are frequent topics of our therapy groups. New groups this semester include:
    • COVID Coping Circles – short term support groups for students to connect and get support from a trained counselor and peers who share concerns/reactions to Covid-19
    • Senior Support Group – will be offered to graduating seniors as an opportunity to share, process, and get support around experiences associated with ending their time in college during the COVID pandemic
  • Crisis and same-day counseling
  • Consultations
  • Outreach programs

To set up an appointment, please call 607-436-3368. For more information about our services visit the Counseling Center’s website.

Resources for Supporting Student Mental Health

Consultation with a Counseling Center staff member 

Counseling Center Website – Faculty specific resources for supporting student mental health 

Short relaxation/mindfulness exercises – Under the link for relaxation exercises under 4 minutes so you can use it to help the class get in the mindset for learning. 

QPR training – Nationally acclaimed on-line training for how to talk to someone about going to counseling. 

Crisis Resources (when the Counseling Center is closed)

Counseling Center Suicide Awareness training and resources 

University Police x3550 (24 hours) 

Otsego County Mobile Crisis Assessment Team 1-844-732-6228 – Counselor available 24-hours a day Text crisis helpline: Text HOME to 741741 

UAlbany Peer Counseling Hotline 518-442-5777 1pm to midnight during the semester  

Behavioral Assessment Team – Student Affairs x2513 (office hours only) 

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