Quincy University lends a helping hand… Or ear

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After months of living in fear and isolation due to COVID-19, it is no surprise that now, more than ever, many students are needing to turn to mental health professionals to cope with a variety of different struggles. 

In an attempt to lessen the pressures and negative emotions people are faced with, Quincy University offers many options for mental health services, both on and off campus, for all students. 

If a student is seeking mental health support, he or she can contact Quincy Medical Group’s Behavioral Health reception at 217-222-6445, extension 418. Upon calling this number, students can schedule a counseling session on campus, at Quincy Medical Group, or via telehealth with any QMG therapist. 

There is normally a counselor on campus eight hours a week, but due to COVID-19, there are limited hours. All contacts need to be by appointment until further notice. 

“It’s an option for students to be seen on campus, but those slots are pretty full. Students should try to be seen at QMG or via telehealth from the comfort of their home or dorm room,” Nicole Shields, QMG Clinical Coordinator of Behavioral Health, said. 

Before scheduling their first appointment, students are given a welcome letter from QMG. This letter is provided to all patients, whether at QMG or on the QU campus. The welcome letter gives prospective patients all the information they need to be informed on regarding the therapy process.

The welcome letter lists the services provided, benefits and risks of treatment, communication tactics with providers, confidentiality guidelines, fees, and other important policies regarding these services. 

Most of the time, patients are responsible for any portion of charges that are not covered by their insurance. However, QU students have the privilege of receiving their counseling services at no charge. Students should be sure to let the reception staff know they are a current QU student. If students fail to do so, they will be charged as regular patients are. 

“If I had known that these services were free, I would’ve definitely considered taking advantage of this opportunity at QU way earlier,” Pierre Jacobs said. 

In the first session, the counselor will complete a comprehensive assessment by asking a variety of questions in order to determine treatment needs.

Along the therapy sessions, the counselors use a progress note, to track and document therapy services. The progress note helps the therapist keep track of the number of minutes spent with the patient, the diagnosis, goals, and modality. 

Counselors also use this note to track the student’s presentation or mental status. They carefully take note of patient’s appearance, movement, concentration, behavior, eye contact, speech, thought process, mood, affect, insight, orientation, judgement, estimation of intelligence, memory, and safety concerns.

After assessing these aspects, therapists also create a plan that best suits the patient, regarding session frequency. Students either go on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis until their symptoms are reduced and therapy goals are achieved. 

All information discussed during therapy sessions is confidential. Quincy University staff members or professors will not have access to patient records or any other information regarding their treatment. 

“I’m so thankful that I chose to start therapy. I was really embarrassed at first because I feel like most guys don’t go, but I look back with nothing but gratefulness,” Ben Wingerter, QU junior, said.

There are many different benefits of going to therapy, especially for struggling college students. Therapy can promote one’s self-esteem, potential, wellness, relationships, and overall outlook on life.

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