HANCEVILLE, AL — Wallace State Community College is now offering free counseling services to students, and in the current crisis, these services are being offered in a virtual environment. David A. Smith, M.S., LPC-S, of Wellstone Behavioral Health is available four days a week to assist students, no matter how big or small their issue may be.
In his first few weeks with the college, Smith said a common issue among the students he’s seen has been related to adjustment and students feeling overwhelmed. He added he’s fully prepared to deal with any issues a student may be facing.
Smith said there are many reasons someone may seek out therapy – grief, anxiety, depression, trauma, addiction, and relationships are among the most common. However, these few examples do not encompass the multitude of reasons why someone may see therapy, he added.
“Everyone needs an outlet, ideally a mental health professional, with whom they can unload all the ‘heavy stuff,’” Smith said. “Talking about your problems without censoring any of the sensitive details can be liberating and cathartic.
“Regardless of the problem, stressor or hardship you may be experiencing, everyone can benefit from seeing a therapist. Therapy can help you overcome current stressors and arm you with the skills to effectively manage in the future.”
All students who see Smith through the college will receive those services free of charge. He can refer them to Wellstone if additional counseling or medication is needed at the student’s expense or through insurance.
Smith is available to students Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. His on-campus office is located on the third floor of the Bailey Center, office 306. While working remotely during the COVID-19 crisis, he can be reached at email@example.com and is scheduling virtual counseling sessions over Skype or other means available to students.
The counseling services are offered as part of the college’s participation in the Caring Campus Initiative with the Institute for Evidence-Based Change (IEBC). Wallace State is one of 10 community colleges in the first cohort across the United States chosen to participate.
Supported by IEBC coaching and guidance, professional staff teams at Wallace State will engage in work developing specific behavioral commitments, helping staff to better connect with, and support, students to help them reach their educational goals.
Funded through a $1 million grant from Ascendium Education Group, one of the nation’s leading higher education philanthropies, the objective of IEBCs Caring Campus program is to increase student retention and success in community colleges by creating and cultivating Caring Campus environments through the intentional inclusion of all staff in student success efforts.
Under the grant, IEBC will work with colleges across the U.S. including Wallace State. Each campus agrees to participate in the Caring Campus Initiative, a coaching-based approach ensuring all staff play a role in enabling students to achieve success.
Other services offered to Wallace State students include a food pantry to address hunger among students; a center for career and workforce development, including a work wardrobe where students can find clothes for interviewing; success coaching; a Veteran’s meeting area; and the college has worked with the Wallace State Future Foundation to make emergency funds available for essential needs like transportation.