By Aaron Falls
This story is part of a collection written by Dr. Andrea Tanner's SCHC Journalism 101 course.
Susan Alexander, SCHC advisor and certified counselor, has been officially given the role of the Honors College mental health liaison. She helps teach coping and problem-solving skills to Honors College students.
“[It is] sort of like life skills coaching,” Alexander says.
Almost all college students deal with some type of stress, especially high-achieving students. Many students can manage their stress by changing their study habits, attending tutoring sessions or even meditating. Alexander strives to teach students these skills to promote overall health in the Honors College.
She also helps to assess students’ mental health and points out on-campus mental health resources to students who need it, even walking with them to the Center for Health and Well-Being when necessary.
Nationwide, there is a mental health crisis among college students, and universities across the nation are struggling to keep up with students’ needs. In the Honors College especiallly, students may believe that they should have everything together and should never need help, which can make them feel like they are alone in their struggles.
However, Alexander wants to let Honors students know that this is not the case.
“They’re not alone in this at all,” Alexander says. “The university has so many resources to provide academic and emotional support. I frequently remind students that they do not need to suffer in silence.”
The on-campus Center for Health and Well-Being offers many services to help students who are struggling with stress and anxiety, such as therapy, psychiatric evaluations, medication management, crisis intervention and more. If students in a crisis cannot make an appointment, the office of Counseling & Psychiatry Services also takes walk-ins.
Alexander’s new role as mental health liaison allows her to pilot a new university mental health model called the “embedded model,” under which each college within the university would have a staff member that doubles as a mental health professional. These counselors would serve as a link between Counseling & Psychiatry Services and students, making it easier for students to reach out for help.
“We all just need somebody to talk to sometimes,” Alexander says.
If you are feeling any form of stress or anxiety, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone. For more information about counseling and psychiatry services provided by Student Health Services, click here.