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Counseling center continues connecting with students

June 9, 2020

Nicole Bowen shows a student temporary tattoos at a suicide awareness day in 2019.
Nicole Bowen shows a student temporary tattoos at a suicide awareness day in 2019.

The staff of Dakota State’s Counseling Center has always understood the importance of connecting with students, and they know that the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased that.

Since the pandemic began impacting schooling in March, staff have been individually reaching out to students, according to Nicole Bowen, student wellness counselor lead.

“Our priority was making sure they were ok,” Bowen said. As they contacted the students, they learned each student’s preferred method of communication, since they could no longer meet in the safe space of a counseling office.

Many phone calls have been made, and the Counseling Center is currently working to become compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) with Zoom, enabling them to offer telehealth sessions with students.

In addition to maintaining contact with students, counseling employees want to make sure all students know what services they provide.

“One of the biggest things is getting the campus community to know that there is counseling on campus for students,” she said.

The Counseling Center offers substance abuse and mental health counseling. They also offer sessions like Mindfulness Monday, group sessions, and the opportunity for social interactions, when students are on campus.

“We are very solution-focused as a team. We want to help students through their situations and help empower them to figure out how to solve their problems or how to cope with different situations,” she said.

Bowen offered an example – anxiety is not something that goes away, so the counseling team works to help students acknowledge when they are feeling anxious and use the skills they’ve been taught to help them feel less anxious.

In addition to working with the counseling center, she encourages students and those with college students in their lives to download the Campus Well website and app.

“Campus Well is an online newsletter that provides information on all kinds of different things regarding wellness, like mental health, wellness, substance abuse, and sleep,” Bowen said.

The application is free and provides a wealth of information for students and student supporters.

The Counseling Center also has a Facebook page where they share resources and positive messages.

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Jennifer Burris
Strategic Communications Coordinator
(605) 270-3816

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