As the remnants of summer start to fade during the third week of September, many students, both international and domestic, are still adapting to find a home at Luther. For both new and returning students, Luther’s Counseling Services continue to provide students with the tools they need to be successful in college and beyond.
Located in Larsen Hall, Counseling Services offers on-campus mental health support options, which include individual counseling, group therapy, therapeutic consultations, group workshops, self-help resources, and peer support. As of the 2021-2022 academic year, students have also had access to a telemental health service called MySSP. MySSP services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Services are also available in languages such as Cantonese, Mandarin, French, Spanish, and English. Samantha Dzangare (‘23) has used both MySSP and in-person resources.
“MySSP has helped me a number of times, but I have to be honest, it definitely doesn’t feel the same as in-person,” Dzangare said. “In-person counseling is better [for me] in terms of interacting with the other person face to face and being grounded to what is around me in the room.”
Meg Hammes, the Director of Counseling Services, points out that protecting and maintaining good mental health is an active process. One practice that students can prioritize is getting adequate sleep. Hammes advises that students get eight hours of sleep a night to maintain both mental and physical health. But overall, Hammes wants students to know the true meaning of good mental health.
“Having good mental health is about being able to step back and not get into comparisons,” Hammes said. “Protecting mental health means setting boundaries with people around us and being able to identify what they need.”
Students at Luther come from different backgrounds, some of which stigmatize discussions about mental health. In these situations, student Anghy Aragon Alegria (‘24) points to the importance of staying on top of personal mental health.
“There are not many private places on campus, the only private space in college is your room [and] that usually has a roommate,” Alegria said. “It is important to be true to yourself and others about mental health because sometimes mental health is still stigmatized between students.”
Services are free of charge for students. For more information on Counseling Services, check out their website: http://www.luther.edu/counseling/crisis/.