UK counseling center offering online services


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Haley Blackburn

Since students left campus at the end of March, the UK Counseling Center and University Health Services have started offering virtual teletherapy appointments for students.

They offer appointments over Zoom or phone depending on what the student is comfortable with.

These telehealth services from both UK Counseling Center and UHS are offered only to those students who are currently in Kentucky.

“Because our licensure laws prohibit us from practicing out-of-state, we can’t do therapy across state lines,” said Tina Bryant, the clinical director of the UK Counseling Center.

However, Bryant said out-of-state students can still get help in other ways.

“We will definitely help people get connected to resources in their area if they call us,” Bryant said.

Bryant said out-of-state students are also welcome to participate in the UK Counseling Center’s other virtual resources like Let’s Teletalk.

Let’s Teletalk is a pop-in, casual style of conversation with a clinician, based on the Let’s Talk sessions hosted on campus earlier this year. There is no appointment required, and students are free to show up anytime during the one-hour slot Monday through Thursday.

“Maybe you’re just having a bad day or you just have some questions or you’re not sure if you need therapy or what resources you need, so those are good things to pop into,” Bryant said.

Bryant said the UK Counseling Center will also offer virtual workshops covering topics such as test anxiety, meditation, and guided imagery, and Relax, Relate, Release for students of color. These workshops are being offered via Zoom and links to each of them can be found on the UK Counseling Center’s website.

UK Campus Recreation and Wellness is also offering Koru mindfulness and recovery workshops. Students can find the time and links on their website.

For students wanting to relax on their own, Bryant suggested apps such as Insight Timer, Headspace, Calm, and Breathe 2 Relax. Bryant also mentioned the UK Counseling Center’s Youtube channel is a resource that students can use for guided visualization and imagery on their own.

The UK Counseling Center will continue to offer these services throughout the summer for anyone registered in summer courses as well as those who were enrolled in the spring semester and pre-registered for fall 2020.

Some students are already using these resources, while others haven’t even heard of them.

Katie Sam Gaither, a junior media arts and studies major, is utilizing the telehealth services from UHS Behavioral Health during this time to maintain a regular meeting schedule with her clinician.

“I feel really blessed to have those resources available to me,” Gaither said.

Jack Chien, a senior biology major, has previously reached out to UHS Behavioral Health to make an appointment but found that every available timeslot conflicted with his schedule.

“Based on prior experiences with UK mental health resources, I feel the only thing that could be improved is making it more accessible to students,” Chien said.

Both of the students were unaware of the resources offered by the UK Counseling Center before being interviewed.

“I was under the assumption that since everyone had to go home, the office would be closed, but if they are still available for students to use, I would love to learn about it and use it,” Chien said.

Bryant said offering and getting the word out about mental health resources are always important, but is especially important during today’s time of anxiety, self-isolation, grief, and uncertainty.

“Anxiety and grief, it weighs on us all and we’re not able to reach out to each other for support in the way that we would normally in those kinds of situations,” Bryant said.

For the specific hours and Zoom links for the UK Counseling Center’s various workshops, and to find out more about the group activities and meetings over the summer. Students can look at the UK Counseling Center’s social media and website.

To schedule an appointment with the UK Counseling Center, students can call the office’s main number at (859) 257-8701 between 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday.

Students can make appointments with UHS and and UHS Behavioral Health through their myUK portal.