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VSU invests resources, expands services to address student mental health

On April 11, Virginia State University hosted a Mental Health Awareness Walk and Fair on...
On April 11, Virginia State University hosted a Mental Health Awareness Walk and Fair on campus, promoting proactive mental health practices within the college student and black population.(VIRGINIA STATE UNIVERSITY | Virginia State University)
Published: Apr. 15, 2022 at 2:01 PM EDT
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ETTRICK, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia State University is making student mental health “everybody’s business” by implementing new resources and programs to combat the student mental health crisis partially caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The university says they are taking on a proactive approach by improving the quality of care and services provided to students to benefit their mental health. VSU has hired a full staff of licensed counselors, health and wellness administrators, expanded psychiatric and telehealth services as well as included new initiatives to “reach students where they are.”

They have also restructured the university’s health services by merging Student Health, the Student Accessibility Office (formerly known as Students with Disabilities) and the University Counseling Center creating Trojan Health and Wellness (THAW).

“Historically, after traumatic events there has been an ‘after effect’ which results in an increase in mental health, psychiatric and social service needs,” said Dr. Cynthia Ellison, VSU Executive Director of Health and Wellness. “In preparation for this ‘after-effect,’ caused by the pandemic, our administration has taken tremendous steps to be proactive for the well-being our student population. We recognize that mental health is everybody’s business.”

The school has trained over 70 campus employees as Mental Health First Aid Responders to increase awareness, intervention, and responsiveness

Along with medically proven and holistic solutions, the university has also introduced “Chatting with Counseling,” a non-traditional counseling service provided inside residence halls. As well as “pop-up” counseling clinics in student recreational spaces.

Group treatment sessions are being used for specific populations like student-athletes and students with accommodation needs.

“We are committed to ensuring that Greater Happens Here by sustaining an environment that is safe, healthy and conducive to providing high-quality transformative experiences for our students,” said Dr. Donald E. Palm, VSU Executive Vice President and Provost.

Students also participated in a university-hosted Mental Health Awareness Walk and Fair on campus to promote proactive mental health practices among college students and black populations.

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