CHC offers virtual mental health resources during pandemic

Cissy Petty, the vice president for student affairs and dean of students, said students can look to myriad online resources for medical, mental, social and intellectual well-being while campus remains indefinitely closed.

Updated: April 20, 2020 at 9:43 a.m.

The Colonial Health Center is offering virtual mental health resources amid COVID-19.

Officials canceled all ongoing counseling appointments and closed the Mount Vernon Campus health center last month, and students have said they are struggling to find mental health resources amid the pandemic. But Cissy Petty, the vice president for student affairs and dean of students, said CHC staff have organized a set of online resources to support the medical, mental, social and intellectual well-being of students while campus remains indefinitely closed.

“In terms of COVID hitting, we knew that those spheres would be really important,” Petty said. “We wanted to make sure that we had programmatic things in place so that virtually we could do telemedicine, and virtually we could do some telephonic counseling.”

Students seeking long-term counseling can call the center for a brief consultation about off-campus resources because licensing laws prohibit counseling by phone.

Students who call counseling and psychological services outside of the center’s business hours will receive “emotional support” from a contracted telephonic behavioral health service and will be directed to local resources as necessary, Petty said. She said a CHC clinician will reach out to the student during business hours the following day.

The CHC will remain open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m to service “sick and urgent” patients and emergency walk-in consultations. 

Petty added that students can make an account on the online platform MiResource to be directed to a personalized set of mental health resources, like mental health counseling.

She said the CHC will post a “CAPS COVID-19 Toolkit” – which contains COVID-19 and non-COVID-19-related resources like apps, videos and website links – to its website starting next week for online self-help. The CHC currently offers “Anxiety Toolbox,” a workshop broadcast through WebEx to help students understand and manage anxiety-related symptoms, she said.

Students can continue to use the WellTrack app – which launched this semester and includes functions like a mood tracker, informational video modules and a meditation feature – to track their mental health progress during the pandemic.

This post has been updated to correct the following:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the CHC is serving patients with “urgent” needs and emergency walk-in consultations. The center has been operating by telemedicine since March 30 and is not open for in-person visits. We regret this error.

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