Students Receiving Help at Mississippi College Counseling Center
Stress and anxiety levels are high for college students in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“Many students are now seeking support for the abrupt changes in living dynamics, grief and loss of the community they had at Mississippi College,” Dr. Morgan Bryant says.
MC students are dealing with “complications associated with returning home after living on their own,” Bryant says.
The Mississippian is monitoring the worldwide health crisis as the director of MC’s Student Counseling and Disability Services Center. Bryant joins many others on campus keeping essential operations open through an online format. The university’s diverse services will stay on track with this approach through late April as the Spring semester winds down.
With nearly 5,000 students away from the Clinton campus and MC Law School in Jackson, the Christian university is revamping major services amid a multitude of COVID-19 challenges.
“We continue to see anxiety management to be the reason most students seek counseling,” Bryant said.
MC’s counseling center switched to an online format beginning March 20. Center staffers and others provided 13 counseling sessions since that Friday. There are 17 more sessions set this week.
“We are also continuing with our crisis response and disability accommodations for our students,” Bryant said.
Making matters easier for schools like Mississippi College to address the unprecedented health crisis, the Mississippi Counseling Board made a key change.
Officials recently granted a temporary exception allowing licensed counselors and provisional licensed counselors to conduct teletherapy. They wouldn’t need to have the usual credentialing requirements to do online counseling sessions. MC psychology graduate John Adams is a staff counselor at the center. He’s helping students with teletherapy sessions via phone and computer.
Counseling center staff rapidly made changes to deal with the new normal. “I am most proud of how fast we pivoted to an online format,” Dr. Bryant said.
Changes are happening almost daily at Mississippi College as statewide COVID-19 testing is stepped up. Mississippi health leaders on March 26 reported 485 Coronavirus cases, including six deaths. Nationwide, there are more than 1,000 deaths due to COVID-19 with New York the USA epicenter of the fast-spreading disease.
Dr. Bryant is offering valuable tips for many home-bound students, faculty and staff experiencing anxiety or other issues during incredibly tough times.
She encourages people to get creative as they stay connected to family, friends and neighbors. It’s a good time to write a letter, schedule a FaceTime dance party and a Zoom Bible study. Spending as much time outside quietly enjoying nature or taking a walk is a good thing. Starting a new hobby or resuming an old one is worth trying, too. Play a musical instrument, take up Scrabble, watch Netflix shows, read books or drop off meals for senior citizens. There is so much to do.
“Recognize when you are dwelling on stressful things too much and change the channel in your head,” Bryant advises. “You don’t have to entertain every thought that comes to you.”
The MC counseling center can be reached at 601-925-7790. Dr. Bryant can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org For after hours, contact MC Public Safety at 601-925-3204 to reach an on-call counselor.