by Karina Aguilar / Staff Reporter
The dean of students and vice president of student affairs, Jamar Orr, announced an expansion of health care services for students on Oct.1, 2020.
One of the new services includes access to the Virtual Care Group, which provides access to unlimited free therapy sessions 24/7.
Dr. Cami McBride encourages students to take advantage of the therapy offered by the Virtual Care Group.
“I think a lot of folks have a misperception that if you go to see a therapist, that means that you’re ‘crazy,’ and nothing could be further from the truth,” said McBride. “Everyone at some point in their lives—and sometimes more than one time in your life—could probably benefit from talking to someone about what’s going on in your life.”
Some students said they think that is especially true with the additional stress of the pandemic.
“I think it’s so important that schools provide counseling services because, especially with the pandemic, everyone has been personally affected whether that be financially, emotionally or physically,” said junior criminal justice major Alexa Jones.
Although these services may be beneficial for some, Jones said that she worries that other students are struggling to access the services.
“I am in student government and I have noticed that some students don’t know how to access the counseling services online or that many students didn’t know the online services were an option,” said Jones. “So I think sending more steps in an email to let students know that Roosevelt does offer the counseling services online would be beneficial.”
Dr. McBride directed students to talk to the dean of students with any technical difficulties or concerns when using the Virtual Care Group.
Another reservation some students had in the past when it comes to the counseling services is making sure that they are culturally aware.
“I tried to go to the counseling center and it felt like they were utterly unprepared and untrained on therapy from a multicultural/intercultural lens and I couldn’t form a trust bond with any of the school counselors,” said Claudia Della Pona, a masters industrial organizational psychology student. “I don’t know how much the situation has changed since—they’re good people —the office is tiny and I hope outsourcing is addressing the diversity of the therapeutic processes, because it was just not enough or inclusive.”
McBride emphasized the importance of feeling comfortable with your therapist.
“If you start working with a therapist and you are not clicking with them, get a different therapist,” said McBride. “Especially within the Virtual Care Group, I would encourage students that if it doesn’t feel like they are connecting for whatever reason, they try to seek someone else.”
According to McBride, another potential benefit of switching from the counseling center to the Virtual Care Group is the 24/7 access to therapy.
“We used to have an on campus counseling center -which is amazing- but unfortunately that office would often run on a wait list, so it was actually harder to access these services before,” said McBride. “The Virtual Care Group is a really beneficial way to provide more students with more counseling services.”
She also believes there are two common misperceptions students have when it comes to the Virtual Care Group.
“These services are essentially free so students don’t have to pay extra—beyond the fee that they have already paid—which is just amazing that we were able to negotiate this,” explained McBride.
Not only does she point out that the services are in fact free, but she also expressed that she wanted to make it known that the services are confidential.
“I think students are worried services are not confidential because the school arranges it or that it is happening via teletherapy,” added McBride. “Therapists are trained that one of the most important ethical principles that we abide by is confidentiality.”