SPU Counseling Center Provides Services While Pandemic Continues
In the midst of semesters, seasonal depression and COVID-19, the Student Advisory Center has seen an increase in student session requests and wishes to provide quality care to all SPU students.
Counseling center director Sharon Jeffery-Barr explained that even though they have a smaller staff due to COVID-19 protocols, the center is still able to see students when they request sessions. Before COVID, there were about 20 employees, but now they have 10.
“I was looking at our stats and we had about seven new contacts in the first week. The second week, we had about ten new contacts. Week three we had about 20 new student contacts, and last week we had 30,” Jeffrey-Barr said. “30 a week is very standard for one of our busy weeks and we always have room, we always see them.”
Although it’s not as crowded as it used to be, the center is working hard to get people’s schedules as quickly as possible.
“We have fewer clinicians, but students can fill out the contact form online, and then our front desk will coordinate with them to schedule them,” Jeffrey-Barr explained. “Some students may have the visit on the same day so we always have a counselor available or if they can wait safely and they are working well our aim is to bring everyone in for their first visit within the week , and we usually achieve that.”
English Literature and Liberal Arts major Molly Callison is one of many students who have had positive experiences with the counseling center.
“Overall, I loved my time with the counseling centre. I was able to work with the same counselor the whole time I wanted to continue having sessions, and I always felt very intentionally supported with her,” Callison said.
To ease student stress, the center is partnering with student club ActiveMinds to organize an upcoming event for the entire SPU community called “Beating the Winter Blues”.
Recognizing how winter weather can impact people’s overall mental health, “Beating the Winter Blues” will include music, affirmation cards, coffee, baked goods and therapy dogs for student enjoyment. The event will take place at Tiffany Loop today, February 16, from 1-3 p.m.
“We’re really trying to lift people’s spirits during these winter months,” Jeffrey-Barr said.
Sophomore Exercise Science student Andrea Bui has had nothing but good experiences with the center and finds everyone very welcoming.
“I think SPU’s advice is super helpful and they really care. I really liked it and my advisor is awesome, I wish she could be my advisor all the time,” Bui said.
The center recommends that when a student wants to schedule a session, they can call early, show up, or fill out the online contact form. The front desk will coordinate with any student to schedule a time that fits their school schedule.
“The contact form is really useful because it collects the student’s preferred email and phone number. It asks them for their schedule, so it’s the most comprehensive,” Jeffrey-Barr said.
Josiah Yuen, a second-year business administration major, greatly appreciates all of the center’s efforts for SPU students.
“The Counseling Center has such a variety of wonderful people who are ready to help you. I feel like even in the few sessions I’ve had with them, I’ve already changed so much and become a better person,” Yuen said.
Students can make an appointment with the counseling center by completing a Contact form on their website. The center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. They can also be reached at (206)-281-2657.