For many students, navigating through life, higher education, careers, and adulthood can be overwhelming at times. It’s something that Hannah Hayward, health educator at the University of Houston-Victoria Counseling Center, wants students to know they don’t have to struggle with these overwhelming feelings and thoughts on their own.
“Going to college, for some, is part of finding out who you are and figuring out the next steps of who you’re trying to become,” Hayward said. “Students here can do that and they have access to free advice to help them navigate these changes.”
The UHV Counseling Center offers a variety of ways for students to receive counseling services and learn about health and wellness topics. The center offers free and confidential individual, couple and group therapy services to all enrolled students, including graduate students and those taking courses at the UHV Katy teaching site. Students also do not need to live on campus to receive counseling and can choose to meet in person or schedule a virtual session with a member of staff. To schedule a therapy appointment with a counselor, students can email [email protected] or visit the center in person located at University Commons, Student Services Suite 2108.
“I recently read a study that found that one-third of college students experience some form of significant anxiety or depression,” said Michael Wilkinson, senior director of student services and legal affairs at UHV and director of the Counseling Center. “This statistic speaks for itself. Our students face a wide range of difficult challenges. It’s our job at the Counseling Center to help break down barriers that can get in the way of student success. In my opinion, focusing on mental health is one of the best gifts an individual can give themselves. I encourage students to be brave and determined to improve their own mental health while at UHV.
Although traditional counseling services are available, the center also offers online therapy assistance, also known as TAO. This online self-help tool and confidential service is available to help students at their own pace and does not involve speaking to an advisor. Students can listen and explore self-help techniques such as mindfulness exercises to help manage stress and anxiety.
The center hosts educational events throughout the year for students that focus on physical, mental, and sexual health and other related topics such as substance abuse.
Some events, such as Tuesday’s “Let Talk About: Healthy Relationships” and the upcoming Clothesline Project, where students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to help raise awareness about domestic violence, are being co-hosted with community resources such as Mid-Coast Family Services, so that students have information about the services available to them in the Victoria area. The Clothesline Project is scheduled for 2-4 p.m. on September 27, and UHV students, faculty and staff are invited to decorate and write a positive message on a t-shirt for survivors of domestic violence. The shirts will be displayed on campus during the month of October.
In October, the center will host events where students can learn about their mental health and the issues that affect people around the world. On National Depression Screening Day on October 6, the center will offer virtual screening to students online to answer survey questions about their health. Based on the student’s survey results, Counseling Center staff will check with the student to see if they would like to see a counselor or access other counseling services. On October 10, students can learn about mental health issues around the world at an event celebrating World Mental Health Day from 2-4 p.m. in the UHV University Commons lobby.
In addition to educational presentations, the center also hosts events, including Walk With Us Wednesdays. During the months of September, October, and November, students, faculty, and staff are invited to meet at the jaX statue on a Wednesday. out of two on campus for a walk around the jaX track. Different times are offered for each event, so university students, faculty and staff are encouraged to check the UHV or JagSync calendar for start times.
The Light Up the Night: Glow 5K, an event to help raise awareness about domestic violence, will take place from 6-10 p.m. on October 20 from Pyramid Row. The university is partnering with Victoria College for the event, and all students, faculty and staff are welcome to attend. Organizations involved in helping victims of domestic violence, including organizations that help male victims, are invited to join the event to help spread the information. To participate in the event, contact Hayward at [email protected]
Kai Martinez, a junior biology student and president of the UHV Student Government Association, is grateful for the counseling services and educational events held on campus. She appreciates that the university has a center that offers so many different ways to help students, especially after graduating from high school where counseling services were limited.
Martinez enjoys using TAO so she can learn mindfulness techniques at her own pace. As a student leader on campus, she actively encourages students – especially young males on campus – to take advantage of the counseling services offered at UHV. Even for students who feel shy or intimidated about talking to an advisor, confidential services like TAO are still available to students.
“There’s nothing wrong with asking for help and talking to a counsellor. It doesn’t define you in any way to take care of yourself,” Martinez said. “Even if you’re not ready to talk to a counselor yet, they’re there for you when you’re ready.”
The UHV Counseling Center is available to all UHV students. To learn more about the center and its services, visit uhv.edu/counseling.