Campus considers mental health

By: Sam Shelton, News Editor

Symptoms relating to anxiety and depression are the most common student afflictions encountered by the Counseling Center, according to Counseling Center Clinical Director Dr. Jaime Fenton.

To address this, the Counseling Center offers resources and events such as Oct. 30’s Depression Screening Day, which allowed students to receive free, immediate results and feedback after being screened by TU psychologists.

“We offered Depression Screening Day to the campus in the hopes of increasing awareness about depression and reaching students who wouldn’t otherwise visit the Counseling Center,” Fenton said. “Many students experience depressive symptoms and don’t realize that psychotherapy could be helpful.”

According to Fenton, the Counseling Center’s services are all confidential with “very few exceptions.” The majority of the Counseling Center’s services are also free.

“Our records are completely separate from academic records,” Fenton said. “In most cases we are unable to talk with anyone about our work with a student unless the student signs a release of information. Our students trust us and we take this responsibility seriously.”

As such, the Health Center does not “routinely notify parents that their student is seeking help,” according to Fenton, though students may sign a release to allow it if they so choose.

English major Jenna Kahn, vice president of mental health advocacy organization Active Minds at Towson, said that her organization also aims to supply students with helpful resources, though the group does not offer the same services as the Counseling Center.

Instead, Kahn said the group promotes, “healthy conversations” at meetings, panels and other events like PostSecretU.

“I want people to have a desire to get involved, even though we are not a support group. We are still supportive, and we still want everyone’s help to fight the stigma,” Kahn said.

Kahn said that Active Minds also encourages students seeking help to visit the Counseling Center and Disability Support Services.

“I feel that Towson offers excellent services for mental health and wellness. The Counseling Center helped me when I went to the hospital last year, and then they helped me find a therapist and psychiatrist that fit my needs,” Kahn said. “It’s a little frustrating that I can’t see someone on campus, but I guess that the needs of all the students would be too great.”

Kahn said she would like to see the Counseling Center, Active Minds, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Disability Support Services collaborate more moving forward.

“I think between all the groups, we could have quite a presence on campus, and perhaps more students would get connected with the services that they need,” Kahn said.

The Counseling Center also offers group sessions related to psychotherapy, meditation, body image and overcoming social anxiety as well as support groups for women of color and survivors of sexual assault. Other services include individual and group therapy options for drug and alcohol-related conflicts.

“For students who need ongoing or intensive help, we work with them to find services off campus that fit their needs,” Fenton said.

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