UNA counseling services provide care, support for students

by Life Editor Melissa Parker

The college experience can be an exciting yet stressful time. Being away from home — possibly for the first time — and learning to live on your own can leave a person feeling a bit overwhelmed. Add in classes, a job and a social life, and the stress level rises. Student Counseling Services is here to help you adjust to life as a college student.

Student Counseling Services is available to all UNA students who are enrolled in classes and have paid the Student Health Fee.

“For students who feel they have nowhere else to go, Counseling Services is a good place to start,” said Director of Student Counseling Services Lynne Martin.

The focus is taking care of students and helping them succeed, she said.

Types of distressed behavior you may recognize are: poor performance, disruptive behavior, depressed mood, and change in personal hygiene or dress. Others may include: weight loss or gain, or expressing feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. Just one of these things by itself may not mean anything, but several of them together could.

If a student contacts Counseling Services for help with a problem, they will be connected with the proper people, whether it is making an appointment to speak to a counselor or getting in touch with one of the other support services on campus, Martin said.

One of the resources available through the Student Affairs Office is the CARE Team. The Campus Assistance, Referral and Evaluation Team is a group of people on campus students can turn to for help.

The CARE Team is an important resource on campus because of the number of things happening to college students. Early intervention and support to students who show symptoms of distressed behavior and providing the assistance needed not only helps those students but also ensures the safety of the entire campus community.

“Our role is to help the students understand that there is someone who cares about them and wants to see them succeed,” said Mental Health Counselor and Case Manager for the CARE team Jami Flippo.

This service relies on referrals from everyone on campus and without that support it cannot be successful. If a student thinks a friend or classmate seems distressed, is suffering a life-crisis or is at-risk, the CARE team wants to be contacted.

Do not be afraid to call, Flippo said.

“I’d rather someone contact me and it be nothing than them not contact me at all,” she said.

Many students experience stress about the increased class work and pressure to make good grades in college.

If a student is struggling with study skills, Martin suggests taking advantage of the many resources available on campus.

Student Counseling Services is located at 555 Oakview Circle behind Kilby Laboratory School. The CARE Team can be contacted at 256-765-4223. Referral forms are available online. If you feel the situation is an emergency, always call 911.