Things to know about Cal U’s counseling center and virtual support

Cal U students in need of mental health support may receive virtual or remote assistance while the campus is closed this semester due to the pandemic.

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Cal U Counseling Center

“Reach out if you are looking for assistance or struggling, there is no shame in asking for help.”

Veonna King, Staff Writer

The Student Health Center on the ground floor of Carter Hall is handled alongside the counseling center. Rachel Michaels, director of student wellness, is the person to contact for students who are looking for a counselor.

“I do a lot of work with helping students get into counseling,” said Michaels. 

Michaels says the process begins with a questionnaire.  

The first question is “Do you live in Pennsylvania?” This matters because some of the counselor’s licenses are only valid to treat in-state residents. You would still be able to have an initial meeting but for future sessions. Michaels would look for other resources to find a counselor who can treat an out-of-state student.

Question two:  “Have you seen a Cal U counselor before?” This question is asked because if you have previously already been seen by another counselor then Michaels will try to make sure you stay with that counselor.

The last question is “Are you in crisis?” If so, Michaels wants to make sure she can get you help as soon as possible.

“I always tell students a crisis is a mental health emergency if you’re thinking about hurting yourself or hurting somebody else,” said Michaels.

Once Michaels gets the responses back she will refer you to a counselor. Then you and your counselor will set up a time to meet. The office consists of two full-time professional counselors and three interns. Two of the interns are in a doctoral program and one is enrolled in a master’s degree program.

Since the pandemic forced the partial closure of college campuses and many people are being asked to the social distance for safety reasons, Michaels has seen an increase of students trying to receive counseling. She attributes isolation as to one reason why she may have seen an increase. She also calls the number of students looking for counselors “concerning.” 

“I think COVID has made students realize they do need more support than they are currently getting used to getting by with,” said Michaels.

The counseling center hours are ranging from 8 a.m to 4 p.m. this semester. You can either call the Student Health Center or email [email protected] directly. The student center is also often advertised in the universities’ daily announcements.  

“Reach out if you are looking for assistance or struggling, there is no shame in asking for help,” said Michaels.