Counseling Center resource for students struggling with mental illness, other health concerns

Kendall Aronson Reporter

Alexi Bell Editor

Berry College focuses on the mental health of students from a holistic viewpoint to help with the rising amount of mental health issues on college campuses around the country. 

The Counseling Center at Berry College is an outlet for students who are dealing with personal issues such as anxiety and depression. The well-trained staff is on hand for students by appointment as needed, whether that is short-term or long-term.

Berry’s goal is to create a holistic approach to the healthcare of the student by incorporating different ways of informing students about problems they may face. 

The Peer Educators is a team of students who work together to lead educational programs geared towards physical and mental health. They serve as a resource for students seeking information whether that be for personal or academic reasons.

“The Peer Educators do things with the Counseling Center each year to address a variety of concerns in multiple areas including alcohol, drugs, mental health and body image,” Dean of Students Debbie Heida said.

Berry also has an early alert system to help seek out students who might be having troubles but who have not sought help on campus. This system allows professors or staff members to anonymously submit a report that they are worried about a student in any way, then Berry will try to help the student on a case by case basis. 

Dean Heida and a team of other qualified faculty members decide what to do for each individual case. 

“We work with a variety of staff to make sure that each student has an appropriate response from a staff member,” Heida said.

Faculty members are also very concerned about a student’s well-being, and some in particular are helpful for students who are facing problems. Visiting assistant professor in theater, Hannah Hammond, in particular, is often a safe space for students who are dealing with a variety of issues.

“Making sure someone sees them is very important, we all kind of feel like nobody sees us, so just being like ‘I got you’ can help,” Hammond said. 

Berry has a variety of different programs so there are numerous people students can talk to to help sort out any issues they might be facing.

Senior Kristen Reeves went through an eating disorder during her time at Berry. 

“The main way Berry helped was through that support system that I had,” Reeves said. “If there’s ever any issue I know I can go to the Ladd Center or the theater faculty.”

According to Heida, there is less stigma for students walking into the Counseling Center because there are other practices housed in the Ladd Center also. 

The best thing to do for someone who is struggling is to be open about their issues and talk to someone who can provide the right kind of help.

“It is okay to speak up, and even as you’re going through it or even as you go beyond it,” Reeves said. “I think one of the most powerful things that I’ve found is your story is someone else’s sermon. Your story is going to be powerful to someone, and your story could be the reason why someone else speaks up.” 

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