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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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HelpLine Awareness Week promotes mental health resources for students

Photo by Hannah Shaffer

Aggies working with the student HelpLine desk hold up a poster by the Academic building to raise awareness about the organization.


Texas A&M’s student-led crisis call center, HelpLine, dedicated the past week to promoting its resources to students. As part of Student Counseling Services, or SCS, HelpLine provides judgment-free listening and connections to other services within SCS.
HelpLine Awareness Week began on Monday, March 21 and continued through Friday, March 25. To inform students about the resources HelpLine provides, volunteers held banners around campus, passed out snacks and gave presentations during classes.
Biomedical sciences junior and HelpLine volunteer Cristina Harvey said anyone can become a HelpLine volunteer, whether undergraduate, graduate or former student. All volunteers complete a rigorous 55-hour interview and training program before taking their first call. Crisis training is provided to ensure that volunteers are able to assist any type of call they may answer. Applications are accepted all year and can be submitted through HelpLine’s website.
Harvey said her time working in the call center has made her a better person and friend.
“I became a volunteer because I really wanted to contribute something to A&M,” Harvey said. “I learned that I had no idea how to listen to somebody. It’s completely changed the way I see the world.”
Harvey said the intense process of becoming a HelpLine volunteer ensures that any call can be handled. Trained in handling subjects such as depression, eating disorders, relationships and other hard-hitting topics, volunteers are prepared to provide a listening ear for any situation. Active listening skills are taught to make the caller feel comfortable and heard regardless of their hardships. 
Anna Sentmanat, biomedical sciences junior and HelpLine volunteer, said the process of becoming a volunteer helped her build listening skills she never knew were important.
“I’m really glad I went through it because it helped me understand what it means to truly listen to people,” Sentmanat said. “A lot of people [who call] don’t feel heard and it is important to make them feel seen and heard, even through the phone.”
Some of the Core Values of A&M are Respect and Loyalty, which include the values of camaraderie and unconditional support. As an act of Selfless Service, Sentmanat said HelpLine volunteers reflect the Aggie Spirit with their dedication to helping students. 

“I feel like it’s the perfect embodiment of the Aggie Spirit of Selfless Service,” Sentmanat said. “Being able to do something as simple as listening to someone, or talk them through whatever is going on in their life, to love them through that is so important.”

Psychology senior and HelpLine volunteer Rachel ​​Greilich said Awareness Week is the reason she joined the call center. After listening to a presentation HelpLine volunteers gave to her class, Greilich said she decided to look further into the process of joining the organization at the beginning of her sophomore year. 

“I had just gotten out of my freshman year and I hadn’t made a lot of friends,” Greilich said. “I was really struggling to find something like that. To have Helpline be involved in my life has been a genuinely life-changing experience for me.”

HelpLine provides an outlet for students to talk through their problems without the pressure of trying to find an immediate solution for their situation. Greilich said the crisis line’s judgment-free atmosphere provides a space for students outside the normal counseling center hours.

“Nobody who calls is a burden or is wasting our time,” Harvey said. “We are never unhappy to take a call. I care so much about our callers, and they’re so important to all of us.”

HelpLine is available for calling from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. on weekdays and 24-hours a day on weekends. The crisis line is just a call away at 979-845-2700.

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