ORANGEBURG, S.C. – As young adults adjust to life on South Carolina State University’s campus, the university’s Counseling and Self-Development Center encourages students to take care of their mental health.
“For so long it was if you had an issue, you didn’t seek the necessary help that you needed, you just dealt with it. But in the world and time we live in now, it is very important. Your mental health is your wealth,” Student Services Program Coordinator Touray Beaton said.
Beaton, who started as an intern for the Counseling and Self-Development center, said it’s important for students to have an outlet and someone to talk to when they feel mentally drained.
“I commend people who take the steps to get that support,” Beaton said. “People think when they let their guard down, that they’re not as strong as they should be, but I think that person is stronger than the average person who doesn’t.”
The Counseling and Self-Development Center has the tools students need to take care of their mental health, while finding ways to cope through difficult times.
Graduate practicum and internship trainees of the Counseling and Self-Development Center
How to seek help
Staff members provide virtual individual and group counseling services, mental health workshops and referral services to all students on campus.
Counseling services on campus are available by appointment only. Dr. Cherilyn Minniefield, director of counseling and student development, suggests students call 803-536-7245, walk into the center or email her at email@example.com to schedule an appointment.
There are also after-hour emergency services available to students on campus. If there is a crisis or emergency, university police will reach out to the counseling center, and they will assist with the situation.
The Counseling and Self-Development Center is in the same building with the Office of Student Disability Services. Students can register to receive accommodations for disability conditions such as mental health disorders, learning deficits and physical disabilities.
In times of significant stress:
- Connect virtually with a provider. Students who wish to schedule a virtual counseling session should email Minniefield at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For campus emergencies, call University Police at 803-536-7188. Otherwise, dial 911.
- Connect with the SCDMH Community Crisis Response Team at 833-364-2274.
- Contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
- Connect with the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 for assistance.
- Practice self-care — meditation, deep breaths, stretching and getting plenty of sleep.
- Take time to unwind — walking, exercising and safely engaging in activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others via technology — phoning loved ones or using social media outlets.
- Maintain routines — studying, preparing meals, relaxing, having fun and communicating.
- Support your well-being by creating a personal menu of coping strategies.
- Avoid unhealthy substance use — alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug use.
Education and outreach
The center also provides practicum and internship training for graduate students in the social and behavioral sciences.
“We recruit graduate students from the Rehabilitation Counseling program and the Counselor Education program on campus to provide them with a supervised clinical training experience that exposes them to mental health services, the process for maintaining clinical notes, participation in individual and group supervision, and campus and community outreach opportunities to prepare them for their initial employment experience upon graduation,” Minniefield said.
Minniefield oversees all counseling and mental health services for students on campus, including campus and community outreach, individual and group counseling, substance education, disability services and referral services.
Besides counseling, the center has done virtual outreach programs for students, faculty and staff. Minniefield has formed several community partnerships with local alumni and mental health professionals to provide COVID-19 support programming to the campus through counseling center initiatives.
“We’ve partnered with individuals who have certain types of expertise to provide outreach services,” Minniefield said. “With virtual outreach, we do PowerPoints and talk about different topics like anxiety, depression, anger and how to cope. In group seminars, we have students sign confidentiality agreements and we treat it like a psychotherapy group.”
For more information on counseling and disability services, call the Counseling and Self-Development Center at (803) 536-7245, visit the center’s web page, or email Dr. Cherilyn Minniefield, director of counseling and student development at email@example.com.