Counseling Center adopts virtual format for all services

Roger Coda
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Though they’re back home, which can be anywhere across New York State, in other parts of the country or in foreign lands, Fredonia students can easily access the full range of services and assistance traditionally provided by the Fredonia Counseling Center through newly implemented tele-services.

“The Counseling Center was able, with the support of ITS [Information Technology Services], to quickly implement tele-services to be able to provide comprehensive mental health services for students,” said Tracy Stenger, executive director of Student Wellness and Support.

“The Counseling Center was able, with the support of ITS [Information Technology Services], to quickly implement tele-services to be able to provide comprehensive mental health services for students,” said Tracy Stenger, executive director of Student Wellness and Support.

A secure platform that ensures confidentiality for all mental health services was created during spring break. All students engaged in counseling services before spring break received information that explained how ongoing counseling will continue in a virtual format. Additionally, memos from Interim President Dennis L. Hefner were sent to faculty and staff affirming the availability of counseling services for students.

Tele-services offer secure video-conferencing, emails, telephone conversations and education using interactive audio, video or data communications for all virtual counseling appointments.

“It was a smooth transition that first week of Distance Education, spent mostly connecting with students, checking in with them and seeing what their needs were at the time,” Dr. Stenger said. “The staff really pulled together to develop new procedures; they reached out to their clients individually to see how they could continue to support them.”

Students initiate the process of scheduling a tele-services counseling session with a mental health counselor by calling (716) 673-3424 or sending an email to counseling.center@fredonia.edu Subsequent sessions with a counselor are then conducted virtually. The Counseling Center online address is https://www.fredonia.edu/student-life/counseling Self-help is also available through https://mystrength.com

Individual sections of the Counseling Center’s website include: telepathy service for counseling, telepsychiatry service for medication management, emotional wellness and COVID-19 self-help resource and self-help resource: my strength. Crisis hotline resources and telephone numbers are also listed.

Jamestown Psychiatric is continuing to serve students services using a virtual format.

"The feedback from students has been positive. Students appear to be navigating the shift to teleservices; they’re so used to that format of communication in their daily lives,” said Jeffrey Janicki, clinical director of Mental Health Services. “It seems to have been an easy transition for them.”

After a few minor connectivity issues, Mr. Janicki said, “It’s going better than expected.”

Regular hours of Counseling Center services – Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. – are continuing.

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