Anxiety, depression and relationship concerns are the most popular topics of discussion for college students at Ball State’s Counseling Center, said Timothy Hess, associate director for Clinical Services and Counseling Center psychologist.
Last semester, the Counseling Center adopted the service “Let’s Talk” as a virtual outlet for students to conduct personal conversations with counseling staff.
“‘Let’s Talk’ provides easy access to a one-time, informal, confidential, free conversation with a Counseling Center staff member,” Hess said. “It does not replace traditional counseling, but it is really [beneficial] for students who need a conversation.”
During the 2020-21 school year, Hess said, he thinks students are finding more difficulties connecting with friends.
“I do think, with some of the things around COVID-19, there has been some heightened sense of isolation and loneliness as students talk,” he said.
Let’s Talk appointments at Ball State
- Ball State’s Counseling Center started offering one-time, 20-minute appointments with Counseling Center staff members in the fall 2020 semester.
- The appointments aren’t meant to be therapy but problem-solving sessions to help ease anxiety and build coping skills.
- Appointments are conducted virtually via Zoom and phone and are available to any Ball State student in Indiana.
- Call 765-285-1736 to request an appointment.
- For more information and answers to FAQs, visit the Ball State Counseling Center web page.
Source: Ball State Counseling Center
At a time when face-to-face conversation is needed most, Ball State’s Counseling Center staff brainstormed ideas that could help students’ situations regarding counseling.
“We had some students who were more interested in group therapy, which we have always been big proponents and fans of because of the social nature,” Hess said.
“Let’s Talk” aims to offer the opportunity to discuss issues like test anxiety, coping skills or roommate conflicts that might cause stress but don’t warrant regular therapy appointments. Students can also use “Let’s Talk” to discuss whether therapy is a good decision for their mental health.
Hess said a total of eight students utilized the service last semester, and the Counseling Center has already had the same number of students in the spring use “Let’s Talk” as of Feb. 4, 2021.
Bill Betts, director of Counseling and Health Services, said via email that “Let’s Talk” is growing and still in its early days of operation, which is a reason for its low usership.
“I think any time you start a new service, it takes a while for people to learn about the service and feel comfortable using it,” he said.
Hess said he hopes “Let’s Talk” will provide one more opportunity for the Counseling Center to connect with students and for students to receive mental health support.
“We want students to know that we are here to help and support them through another semester [in the midst of] a new academic experience,” Hess said.
The Counseling Center is advertising “Let’s Talk” through the Ball State COMM center, posters in residence halls and its brand-new YouTube channel.
“It is my hope,” Betts said, “that ‘Let’s Talk’ will give students one more way to get support so they can be successful.”
Hess said he hopes it will grow through advertising and word of mouth.
“[‘Let’s Talk’] is a service that we hope will find a niche on campus since it’s got a lot of opportunity for students,” he said.
Contact Grace Bentkowski with comments at email@example.com or on Twitter @gbentkowski.