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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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June 16, 2024

Student Counseling Services offer resources for mental health

The+Student+Counseling+Services+offers+support+for+current+Texas+A%26amp%3BM+students+and+staff.
Photo by Graphic by Mariah Colon

The Student Counseling Services offers support for current Texas A&M students and staff.

Busy college students may struggle to maintain their mental health during the semester, but the Student Counseling Services (SCS) provide support for all current Texas A&M students and staff.
To ensure the balanced mental health of students, SCS offers multiple services including crisis intervention, a HelpLine call center, group counseling and career counseling. Student counseling can be accessed online, by telephone or in person across from the White Creek student apartments.
Associate Director of SCS Mary Ann Covey came to A&M as a graduate student in 1988 and has been officially working for SCS for 25 years, helping students understand their options. Covey said suicide has become a pervasive issue in today’s society that SCS works to prevent.
“The most important thing we can do is to keep a student safe,” Covey said. “After that, we’re really trying to support the academic mission. It’s trying to help that student that’s really anxious, that’s not able to perform at the level of their potential.”
Covey said in a society with a multitude of phone applications and technological tools, people have an abundance of stress management techniques. Covey said she encourages students to continue taking measures to keep their mental health in good condition, especially during the anxiety-charged weeks leading to finals.
“The biggest thing that I see happen with finals week is all the things that students do for self care for 14 weeks, they just throw out the window during finals week,” Covey said. “Don’t abandon the things you do for self care. If you’re a workout person, don’t just stop working out.”
SCS administrative associate Jerri McSloy, Class of 2004, has been a part of SCS since 2001. McSloy aids the professional training for the interns and doctoral-level practicum programs. She said she invites students to not be afraid to come into the SCS, and the atmosphere there is welcoming and accepting.
“I think that regardless of what they’re coming in for, we definitely can help,” McSloy said. “It’s very confidential. Sometimes people don’t want to be known for coming into the counseling center. So the fact that we do biofeedback, relaxation and career counseling shows that no one knows what you’re going to be coming in for. It could be for your career.”
SCS administrative coordinator Lori Bienski has been working at SCS for 16 years. She said she strives to show all students the same care she would for her own child, who is an A&M graduate.
“If they have a question, I just think ‘What if this was my child?,’ and I do my very best to try and help them,” Bienski said. “I feel like when a student comes here, we want them to feel like they are listened to, that we care about them. We care about their success. We truly care, and we respect the student. We respect everyone.”
Senior Customer Service Assistant Pearlean Howard starts the screening process for students who come into the complex, and helps with scheduling. Howard said that confidentiality is one of the most important aspects he stresses when meeting with students.
“Basically, before they get to the counselors, we start the process here,” Howard said. “Sometimes we have to protect the students, if a mom or dad calls. As a parent, I know they’re concerned. But [students] are young adults right now and confidentiality is the law.”
SCS stresses the importance of not disregarding mental health during highly stressful events. Bienski offers advice to students feeling overwhelmed.
“Definitely try to take care of yourself,” Bienski said. “There’s a lot of late nights and not getting enough sleep. But it’s very important to listen to your body and know that you need to rest. Just know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. You will get over this.”

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