• From counseling to fitness, 5 ways Baylor is working to support students’ mental health

    A swirl of clouds over Baylor's skyline

    Life can be stressful at any time; an election year amidst a pandemic has only amplified the whirlwind that is 2020. Add in all that comes with this time of year — holiday stresses, financial anxieties, seasonal depression, etc. — and it’s important that now, more than ever, we care for our mental state.

    October 10th is World Mental Health Day — a good time to stop for each of us to stop and assess our condition. Students in need of a little assistance can find it all across campus; here are five examples of resources Baylor offers to support mental health:

    * Baylor Counseling Center — At the Baylor Counseling Center, students can make appointments for counseling, group therapy, clinicals, eating disorder help, and more with licensed professionals right on the Baylor campus.

    “It is important that we all support one another during this time,” says Dr. Brooke Hill-Allen (BA ’07), assistant director of community and diversity programs & senior staff clinician at the Baylor University Counseling Center. “Caring for ourselves, our loved ones and our community is a core value of who Baylor has been, is, and will always be. The Counseling Center is committed to the work that we do and the overall mental health and wellness of our community.”

    During the pandemic, the Counseling Center has developed additional ways to help students, including telehealth appointments, free (but limited) phone/video counseling sessions, and access to Self-Help TAO, a free, online platform for mental health. They also provide an online toolbox offering tips and resources to help cope with stress, anxiety and depression brought on by the pandemic.

    * Baylor Spiritual Life University Chaplain Burt Burleson and other Spiritual Life staff members are always available for students in need of prayer or pastoral care. On a more local level, resident chaplains live in every residence hall to provide further pastoral care and leadership to each community. The Spiritual Life website offers tips on prayer and dealing with grief and loss, and their departmental library loans books on a wide array of subjects.

    * CARE Team Baylor Student Life houses CARE Team Services, a group of case managers dedicated to helping students connect with resources that will best suit their needs. The team bases their methods on Creating Trust, Active Listening, Responding Well, and Expecting Connection. Students can reach out to the CARE Team to discuss mental health treatment options, receive academic support, and get advice on physical wellness. The team serves as consultants to various campus constituents who may have concerns about students based upon their interactions.

    * Beauchamp Addiction Recovery Center (BARC) — The BARC is designed to support students in addiction recovery. With a focus on mental health, professionals at BARC create a safe and encouraging atmosphere for those needing help. In appropriate situations, BARC believes in tethering a student’s recovery and treatment to their faith. “We’re trained to empathetically enter whatever space the student is in and introduce steps they’re comfortable with,” says Stanton Corley (MA ’18), BARC’s recovery support coordinator. “At the end of the day, we just want our services to reflect the university’s values as a Christian community.”

    * Baylor Wellness The Department of Wellness provides health education programs to help students develop healthy lifestyles through knowledge and behavior change. The staff can guide students through various aspects of personal well-being, such as time and stress management, nutrition education, physical fitness, personal hygiene techniques, spiritual development, and alcohol awareness. Additionally, FitWell  offers programming to promote further physical wellbeing through group exercise classes, personal training, nutritional consults and services, and special events.

    Baylor has committed to sharing resources, advice and research related to mental health and well-being throughout October. “It’s encouraging to see organizations and groups across the university leveraging their platforms to share tips and best practices for mental health,” says Dr. Jim Marsh, dean for student health and wellness and executive director for counseling services. “I always encourage the Baylor Family to seek out and invest in our mental wellbeing.”

    Sic ’em, Bears!

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