By Ellie Gearing, COM 250 Reporter

Edited by Laura Barabas, COM 303 Editor

MOUNT BERRY, Ga.- The Berry College Counseling Center made substantial changes to its program to better help the Berry community.

Beginning in August of this year, Becca Smith, director of counseling at Berry College, helped add three new resources for students with hopes of providing more support. The first new addition is a same-day solution session to provide students better access to services if they are in crisis. The Counseling Center also started a series of drop-in psycho-educational workshops called Emotional Wisdom for students who may not need counseling but want help with specific issues. The last resource, Love Your Selfie, is a group therapy option to boost personal confidence.

These new resources are designed to assist students significantly, especially during stress trigger times.

“When stressful times happen, like finals week, we offer extended solution session times for those who are in immediate need,” Smith said. “The Emotional Wisdom workshop also addresses stress management and mental toughness at the end of the semester.”

Smith said this semester they are working on a new group called Connect for peer-led support. Two resident assistants approached Smith with the idea to provide more help and services to the students under their care.

These adjustments aim to show the students at Berry that the Counseling Center works above and beyond to support them. Associate Dean of Students Lindsay Norman is very involved with the Counseling Center and refers multiple students a week to its services.

Norman said she believes the Counseling Center’s efforts are beginning to show beneficial results.             

“I think these adjustments have made such a difference in getting students in to talk with a counselor quicker,”  Norman said. “I also think they’ve done an excellent job putting themselves into the community to introduce themselves and their services to students.”

Throughout the year, the Counseling Center tried to make new and better adjustments. In future, they plan to expand their number of counselors by partnering with another college to bring in recent graduates and interns.

Smith said she hopes these changes will help students overcome the taboo around mental health.

“I hope these adjustments are breaking down the stigma and lack of access to mental health care,” Smith said.

Kimberly Barackman, office manager of the Counseling Center, said she has noticed more students taking advantage of these resources as compared to when she started work in October.

“The new resources really are making a noticeable difference,” Barackman said. “I receive a lot more calls this semester to set up appointments compared to the last.” 

Another important resource students can use if needed is the Virtual Care Group for 24/7 crisis intervention. You can contact them by calling 866.533.1827.

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