Creighton’s Student Counseling Services has adapted their offerings to meet the needs of students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jennifer Peter, Director of Student Counseling Services, spoke on the changes that have been made to the counseling center as well as what students can expect going forward.
Peter said that the services offered this semester have largely remained the same. Student Counseling Services is still offering individual counseling sessions, crisis appointments and group therapy sessions.
“The main difference is that we’ve moved to primarily telehealth,” Peter said. “Markoe [Hall] is not a big space, so we are trying to reduce density in that space in order to minimize risk.”
Peter explained that the counseling center is still offering in-person sessions when appropriate, but the majority of counseling sessions take place via a HIPAA-compliant Zoom meeting.
“We’ve also recognized since the semester started that some students don’t necessarily have access to a private space to conduct their counseling session,” said Peter. In order to help this situation, Peter said that there are office spaces available in Markoe Hall for students who may need it upon request. These spaces are then cleaned afterwards.
In light of the coronavirus outbreak, Peter described some additional services being offered this semester.
“Knowing that there’s a lot more added stress because of COVID, we’ve added an open COVID-stress support group on Friday afternoons at 1 p.m.,” Peter said.
Additionally, Student Counseling Services partnered with the Creighton Students Union to offer a more general workshop series the first Wednesday of every month from 5-6 p.m. on managing stress and anxiety. This workshop is also open to all students.
“Mental health is really important, and it’s important to check in with yourself in these really weird times,” CSU President Colby Austin said.
Peter also offered some suggestions for students on maintaining their mental health during this challenging time. She spoke about the importance of establishing a routine, staying active, sleeping and eating well, and preserving social connections.
“Even though the social connections are different, and maybe not how we want them to be, it’s really important to maintain those connections and still find different, creative ways to get involved with things,” Peter said.
In the event that Creighton does switch to fully online learning, Peter said it is the intention of Student Counseling Services to continue offering counseling to students who seek it.
As for future changes, Peter said that there will be a full-time psychiatrist joining the counseling center on Sept. 23. Additionally, counseling services is looking to expand its after-hours crisis support, as well as planning on establishing some online therapy modules in the future.