Numerous resources can help students with mental health

ISU employees who interact closely with students -- faculty, advisors and managers of student employees -- are crucial in creating a supportive community of care that's needed more than ever during the pandemic, Fallyn Lee, senior psychologist for student counseling services, told Professional and Scientific Council members last week. 

Prior to COVID-19, 1 in 3 college students nationwide reported a significant mental health concern, Lee said. Nationwide, an estimated 80% of students said the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health, and 1 in 5 said their mental health is significantly worse, according to data she shared in a presentation at the Dec. 3 meeting.

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"A lot of what we've seen in the fall semester and what we're likely to continue to see is a significant disruption in our daily lives and our rhythms and just how we go about the day-to-day," Lee said. "We as humans really like certainty. We really like to know what's coming next so we can prepare."

Lee outlined the expanding mental health resources available to students, which in addition to student counseling services includes the Thielen Student Health Center, the Student Wellness office, the Therapy Assistance Online self-help app and ULifeline, which provides mental health screening tools and resources.

"We have so many different resources to offer students," Lee said.

There's no need for students to wait for help. Counseling staff offer same-day services for first-time requests for assistance, with a team of five to seven clinicians assigned to initial appointments Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students who want more informal contact can use the Let's Talk service for brief consultation, problem solving and support 10 a.m.-noon Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Crisis counselors are available 24/7 by texting "ISU" to 741741.

With limited exceptions, counseling has been offered virtually since the pandemic began, Lee said. Students can call counseling services at 515-294-5056 to get started.