Mental Health at Lynchburg

Graphic by Jess Head

Cassandra Matthews ~ Assistant Editor

There are many options available for students seeking mental health support at the University of Lynchburg, including making appointments at the Counseling Center or joining the “Coping with COVID” small virtual group.

    Vice President and Dean for Student Development,  Dr. Aaron Smith said, “Students can seek assistance with our Counseling Center, we have several highly qualified licensed professional counselors who are available to meet in person or online to help guide our students. They have an array of offerings and specialties that can help our students through challenging situations. Additionally, we have a resource called Therapy Assistance Online (TAO) which can help our community members who experience stress or anxiety.”

     In an email sent out to undergraduate students, Tara Nunley, the Clinical Director of Counseling Services, noted that there are  three types of appointments available: in person, tele-counseling from a living space, or tele-counseling from a private room in Hundley Hall. However, tele-counseling “can only be conducted with students physically in Virginia.” Students who do not meet this criteria can make in person appointments, but both students and counselors are required to wear masks for the entire appointment.

     Students with anxieties specific to the ongoing pandemic might be interested in the virtual small group facilitated by Marisa Jones, a graduate student in Counseling Education.

     This group also met last semester. Jones said, “It was extremely fulfilling to execute something related to my Master’s work from start to finish. My co-facilitator and I had a great group of participants and were excited to share some of what we have been learning in our program with our fellow Hornets.”

     This semester, the program will be different in that the length is shortened, while there are more days and times offered. “Last semester we ran the group for six consecutive weeks on the same day and time. This semester we condensed the content in order to be able to run the group more times and provide more opportunities for students to participate. We are offering two different days and times, a daytime group and an evening group. We hope anyone who wants to participate can,” said Jones. “The only requirements are to sign up and fill out pre and post questionnaires. Students will receive an email from Tara Nunley, Director of Counseling, with a link to sign up. We will continue to start new groups throughout the semester.”

     Jones continued, “This has been, and continues to be an amazing opportunity to connect with other students and share a space that allows everyone to express themselves in the way they need in the moment. I believe one of the most beneficial elements of the group is that it provides the chance for students to come together in a setting that is not about anything other than what they want or need it to be, free of expectation. Communing with one another these days can be difficult. This is a space to just be, to share, and to express whatever it is that needs to be expressed. I hope to see more of what we have already seen, people coming together to share this collective pandemic experience.”

     To sign up for a covid anxiety group, students can check for emails received by Tara Nunley. 

To make an appointment at the Counseling Center, students can call the office at 434-544-8616.

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