Counseling services available during finals

The Baylor Counseling Center is one of the various services on Baylor’s campus for students to turn to in times of stress, particularly during finals. The Counseling Center, located on the second floor of the SLC, is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Isabella Maso | Reporter

Stress is nothing new for most students, especially around this time in the semester when finals are fast approaching.

It is the time of year where students can feel hopeless or are struggling to make it to the end of the semester.

If you or someone you know is struggling, there are various services on Baylor’s campus for students to turn to in times of need. The first is the Baylor Counseling Center.

“We see a pretty steady flow of students all semester. However, we do see students towards the end of the semester who are feeling stressed and more anxious with the weight of final exams,” said Dr. Jim Marsh, director of counseling services. “One of the goals students should have is to stay healthy. The ways you do that is to make sure you’re getting enough sleep. I’m a big advocate of getting eight hours of sleep a night, and I do not recommend all nighters or marathon study sessions. I think those things will affect your performance and health.”

There are currently 16 full-time mental health providers on staff at the counseling center that help the Baylor community deal with a variety of issues. In the spring, there will be 21 full-time staff members.

“We have psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors and licensed marriage and family therapists. So we have staff from all the different mental health disciplines,” Marsh said.

He said that sometimes students have privacy concerns about reaching out but wants to assure students that they have nothing to worry about.

“We can’t release any information about a student. We have very strict rules about sharing information,” Marsh said. “I know that’s something students worry about when thinking about coming in. They think, ‘Well, if I go there will it be confidential?’ Absolutely. I can’t tell anyone that you were here, had an appointment, or anything.”

As for students reaching out for help, Marsh said he and the staff at the counseling center do not take that act lightly.

“We understand that it takes a pretty big step [to reach out], so we take it very seriously when someone does reach out for help,” Marsh said.

The counseling center, located on the second floor of the McLane Student Life Center, has walk-in clinic hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The 24/7 crisis line is also available at 254-710-2467.

Another resource that students can turn to is the Bobo Spiritual Life Center located on the Corner of Fifth Street and Speight Avenue.

“We provide pastoral care to students. Sometimes that might be as simple as a student coming in, expressing their concerns, and us seeing how we can help them,” said Kristen Richardson, director for formation. “We might pray with the student or help student get in touch with whom they need to get in touch with, whether it be helping them make an appointment with the counseling center or walking them over to the offices.”

Throughout the study days next week, students can attend various events hosted by spiritual life on campus.

“They can come to the Bobo during study days, and we do “Study. Sabbath. Repeat” where they can do several different types of spiritual practices while they are studying or to take a break from their studying,” said Dr. Josh Ritter, assistant director for formation.

Spiritual Life is also hosting a day at Elliston Chapel, Tuesday, Dec. 6, where students can come to take a study break. They will have music on and ministers available throughout the day for students who attend.

“They can come to the prayer chapel; there is some guided prayer and meditation. Going to those types of things and taking a break from studying and being a part of the community and being around other people can be very helpful to alleviate stress. Now, that’s not to use that as a procrastination tool, but it does help with stress,” Ritter said.

You can contact the Spiritual Life Center for an appointment with the university chaplain or another staff member at 254-710-3517.

To schedule an appointment with the counseling center, call 254-710-2467.