Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Morehead State University had to deal with an unprecedented event that affected the campus community's physical and mental health.
Whether it was during the height of the pandemic or the coming months and years as we move forward, MSU's Counseling and Health Services (CHS) has been responsive to student needs every step of the way.
"We have all been impacted by the COVID pandemic and that pandemic has two sides: physical health and mental health," said Goldie Williams, director of MSU Counseling and Health Services. "We must acknowledge that COVID has been hard on all of us, and we must work to bring everyone forward with good mental health outcomes."
Having physical and mental health capabilities in one facility at 112 Allie Young Hall, MSU's Counseling and Health Services adapted swiftly and safely at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It created a COVID Response Team that included nurses and support staff from nearby St. Claire HealthCare in Morehead. This team prioritized campus safety as it regularly interacted with students and administered testing to determine quarantine protocols based on either positive tests, symptoms or potential exposure.
Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, Williams said people should be aware of the mental health effects COVID-19 has had on students.
"On the mental health side, we saw heightened anxiety to begin the academic year change to depression toward the middle and we ended with more apathy and anger," she said. "This trajectory of mental health issues follows one seen on the route to a PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) diagnosis."
CHS successfully made the change to utilizing telehealth consultations, which has made up 60% of its services since the pandemic. This includes implementing Therapy Assistance Online (TAO), which includes over 150 brief, practical educational sessions covering more than 50 common topics related to mental health, wellness and substance abuse issues.
Staff will also be participating in advanced training this summer and mental health first aid trainers will be able to provide training to staff in Fall 2021 to improve campus response to mental health issues based on intervention strategies. Williams said MSU students should take full advantage of what CHS offers to overcome any mental health concerns.
"Seek help when you need to. Our campus mental services are free to students and continue all summer," she said. "Our door has never closed to student access, and we can offer in-person or telehealth sessions. Get the help you need as soon as you realize it and begin to move forward in getting back to normal. We can do this."
To learn more about TAO, register for TAO self-help or download the TAO mobile app, visit http://www.moreheadstate.edu/tao
For more information on MSU Counseling and Health Services or schedule an appointment, visit http://www.moreheadstate.edu/chs or contact 606-783-2055 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you think you may have been exposed or have questions about COVID-19, please call the MSU hotline at 606-783-4222, email email@example.com or visit http://www.moreheadstate.edu/healthyatmsu