Safeguarding the emotional well-being of Texas A&M University students is one major reason for a campus-wide initiative to embed mental health professionals across campus spaces, such as colleges, schools and remote campuses. It’s also part of the university’s commitment to enrich student services and enhance the educational environment.
For instance, Angie McDonald, a licensed professional counselor, was hired to work with the College of Arts & Sciences’ student success team, reported the College of Arts & Sciences News. Her office is located within a main academic building, allowing her to be closer to the student population and provide them with more accessible care, according to Lanice Bennett, director of strategic initiatives and partnerships within University Health Services.
“A student’s comfort with scheduling may increase when they see their counselor regularly around their own home space,” Bennett said. “It becomes much easier to schedule with Angie when the student sees Angie and knows who she is.”
The institution’s embedded counselor program not only provides students with mental health access, Bennett said, but it also helps create a safe, personalized environment where each student’s specific needs can be taken into consideration.
“Professional and graduate students might need to hear workshops offering a topic about family and academic balance, while a first-gen population might benefit from workshops on how to navigate care resources in a large university setting,” Bennett explained. “Because an embedded counselor has closer involvement with their population, the counselor can help inform the entire team of University Health Services professionals of the particular needs for that group of students.”
Sources: College of Arts & Sciences News, Texas A&M University, 7/27/23; Texas A&M Today, 9/5/23
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