The ability to have in-person counseling sessions through Bradley University’s Student Support Services may have stopped, but the need certainly has not.
Student Support Services has adapted to offer students alternative options to cope with the changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Counseling services are mainly through video calls now, though over the phone conversations are available as well.
“We miss meeting with our students face-to-face,” Emily Panich, an outreach counselor at Bradley said. “We are thankful to be able to provide services to students still, however, we realize that providing those virtually isn’t the same as in person.”
Prior to the pandemic, telecounseling was not used by student support services, but Panich said it appears to be successful. She added that going forward, this service may be maintained in addition to direct face-to-face counseling when the circumstances allow them to do so.
Deborah Montgomery-Coon, the director of Bradley Counseling, said it is difficult to tell if students are utilizing it more or less now that everyone is at home.
“There are so many different factors that can impact help-seeking,” Montgomery-Coon said. “I do think students are reaching out still, but I would not want to try to compare the numbers [to last year].”
They also created a mental health virtual care package through Google Docs. The care package has been sent out to students via Hilltop Happenings throughout the month of April and can be accessed here.
“We wanted to reach out and share ways in which to help take care of yourselves, no matter if you are in Peoria, Illinois, or across the globe,” the beginning of the care package reads.
The care package includes 12 sections of ideas for students to utilize to maintain a healthy mindset.
Each section features a varied list of ways students can practice each of these options such as online fitness classes, virtual concerts, mindfulness exercises, memes and articles on the importance of the concept linked for easy access.