Dear Editors of The Post,

I am writing to you in regards to the editorial published on Sept. 23, 2020 titled “OU needs to better address mental health during COVID-19.” My name is Dr. Kate Hibbard-Gibbons and I am a psychology resident at Ohio University Counseling and Psychological Services.

I appreciate that this article highlighted the variety of ways in which the students of OHIO are deeply affected by the decisions of the administration in response to the pandemic. Additionally, it was helpful to note the difficult experience of balancing living, working and playing in the same space for months. I was happy to see that you wrote CPS is providing services. However, when I read “OU does a poor job of marketing them,” I felt compelled to write to you and let you know all the ways in which we are advertising our services. Furthermore, I wanted to inform you of the many services we do offer. 

Regarding the first point, we do everything we can to inform students of our services. This includes presenting at Bobcat Student Orientation; advertising in weekly student newsletters via DOSA, Women’s Center and LGBTQ+ Center; on our website; at Bobcats Who Care training; orientations for UC instructors; department orientations when invited; at meetings hosted by student leaders organizations; RA meetings; mass emails; and on Twitter (@OHIO_Counseling). 

Moreover, with the help of the Graduate and Undergraduate Student Senate, we were able to advocate to have our phone number on student IDs. For students who have attended our Drop-In and Let’s Talk services, they are informed of the multiple resources we have to offer. As you can see, there are numerous means by which a student could find out about our services.

Concerning the second point, we do have numerous services:

Group Therapy

CPS offers a variety of groups including process groups, support groups and skills-based groups. Students can find them here.

Drop-In

Drop-In Hours via phone are available between 10:00 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. to new or returning clients.

Collegiate Recovering Community (CRC)

CRC/RISE Virtual Lounge is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. There will always be someone there! It is open to students, staff, faculty, alumni and visitors.

Dropping in to the lounge might be more comfortable for students rather than attending a meeting because they can speak with a staff member directly and then decide if they want to attend group meetings. The lounge is also a place where anyone can stop in to learn more about the services CRC offers.

Let’s Talk

Students who are a part of residential life, whether away from Athens or on campus, can use Let’s Talk hours. Call (740) 597-9145 to talk with a counselor between 5 and 10 p.m., Sunday through Friday. If you need a private space to make the call, come to the Living Learning Center on South Green. This service is available for students seeking mental health consultation and brief counseling, support for yourself, or support if you are concerned about a friend.

Coping Clinic

We offer a drop-in workshop four times a week where any student (including out-of-state students) can log in to learn a coping strategy, connect with peers and have experience practicing coping strategies for a wide range of concerns. We have rotating topics including managing uncertainty and anxiety, coping with loneliness and isolation, and setting yourself up for academic success. More info on the coping clinic can be found here.

Single Session Therapy 

Some students want to meet with a professional counselor for a single conversation to discuss a concern and create an action plan, but are not interested in ongoing counseling services. Single sessions are frequently scheduled within a week of contacting CPS and scheduling an appointment.

Individual Counseling

CPS offers short-term individual counseling (to students residing in Ohio) utilizing brief therapy models to students on issues such as coping with depression, anxiety, PTSD, body image, identity related issues, improving communication and problem-solving skills, building satisfying relationships, academic and social skills and adjusting to college. Individual counseling is determined by the clinician after the initial appointment and sessions are held virtually.

Psychiatric Consultation

Psychiatric services are provided to complement counseling and therapy at CPS. Services are provided to students who reside in Ohio and are held virtually.

As always, students can use our after-hour phone services when they are in crisis.  Therapists are available after-hours by dialing (740) 593-1616. In the event of an emergency, please call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.  

Thank you for taking the time to consider the information I have to offer in response to your original article.

Kate Hibbard-Gibbons is a licensed psychologist with CPS at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Kate by emailing her at hibbardgk@ohio.edu.