With Idaho’s stay-at-home order and the subsequent campus closure, the BYU-Idaho Counseling Center continues to help students navigate stress and uncertainty. It just looks a little different this semester.
Instead of walking into the Student Health Center, appointments are held over the phone, or through video-conferencing services.
“We are doing our best to be good community citizens and are following the recommendations of our church and government leaders to avoid face-to-face contact wherever possible,” the Counseling Center said in a statement released on its website. “Given these recommendations, all services will be provided online until further notice.”
Due to legal restrictions, only students assigned to a track, enrolled in classes and currently residing in Idaho can schedule appointments with BYU-Idaho counselors. Eligible students can make an appointment by calling the front desk at 208-496-9370.
Although there are certain criteria to be eligible for appointments with counselors, the Counseling Center has provided other services to students who do not reside in Idaho.
“We offer two workshops,” said Reed Stoddard, the Counseling Center director. “It’s a collaboration with us and the Wellness Center. They are on anxiety and stress management.” The workshops are available to all students and employees of BYU-Idaho.
The workshops focus on helping students find healthy ways to manage stress and emotions in a variety of different situations. Each is free and lead by licensed psychologists and social workers.
Racheal Kerstetter, a junior studying English education, has taken advantage of the Counseling Center services in previous semesters on campus and now virtually.
“I know personally the quarantine has been extremely hard on my mental health,” Kerstetter said. “Even if students typically aren’t dealing with mental illness, there can be symptoms of depression and anxiety that present themselves because of everything that’s going on in the world.”
Kertstetter said through working with a consistent counselor the transition has been easy. She still feels important and valued. She said her overall experience with the Counseling Center has been “life-changing.”
With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shared many tips on its website for those struggling with stress.
“It’s a little bit of a stressful time,” Stoddard said. “We don’t have our normal routines and classes are now remote. We can’t talk to people face to face, like we are used to doing. So I think in general, people’s anxiety and depression are up a little bit.”
Stoddard also talked about how the demand for help is going up. The Counseling Center encourages people to seek help, whether it’s through its services and workshops or through a facility near their home.