Counseling Services A Vital Part of Support System For MGA Students

Author: Sheron Smith
Posted: Monday, March 18, 2024 12:00 AM
Category: Pressroom

Macon, GA

Azizza Pitts is a counselor in MGA's Counseling & Accessibility department. Image: Tyler White

Fear of academic failure. Relationship issues. Navigating young adulthood. And, for some, a tendency toward suicidal thoughts.

Those are part of the mixed bag of emotional and mental health challenges that college students nationwide can occasionally - or chronically - face.

Middle Georgia State University’s (MGA's) Counseling & Accessibility Services, part of the Office of Student Affairs, is a valuable resource for students struggling with issues both major and minor.

"Our counseling services play a crucial role in supporting the holistic wellbeing of our students," said Predita Howard, executive director of the Counseling & Accessibility department. "We understand that college life can be stressful, and it's essential for students to have access to professional support when they need it. Our counselors are here to listen, provide guidance, and help students develop coping strategies to overcome obstacles and thrive. We also offer cost-free virtual services to students.”

Dr. Michael Stewart, associate vice president for Student Affairs, recently reminded the MGA campus community about the virtual resources available to students. With support from the University System of Georgia, MGA is currently partnering with Uwill, a leading student mental health and wellness solution. Uwill offers students free immediate access to teletherapy, a direct crisis connection, and wellness programming through its easy-to-use online platform. 

The Student Affairs office’s Be Well webpages promote, among many other resources, a new clinical support line number - 833.646.1526 – that is available to students 24/7. In about 30 seconds or less, students are connected with a licensed mental health counselor who will listen, offer guidance, and help them set up a plan.

“While we have dedicated in-person counselors based on our Cochran and Macon campuses, we want to make sure students know about the wide range of online and virtual resources that provide immediate assistance and don’t require waiting for an appointment,” Stewart said. “Our ongoing goal is to ensure that students have access to the support they need, whenever they need it."

Counseling services have long been available on most college campuses, but the COVID era helped drive an increase in stress and anxiety among students and highlighted even more the acute need for supportive resources. According to Howard, in the last year MGA’s Counseling & Accessibility department served students with 1,200 in-person appointments and an additional 200 through various outreach events. More than 6,300 students used virtual services provided through the Be Well webpages.

The counseling center hosts periodic “Wellness Pop Ups” on each of MGA’s five campuses as one of the ways to continuously remind students of the resources available.

“I’m proud that MGA is a University that values compassion and support for students,” Stewart said. “We remain committed to using initiatives and partnerships to create an environment where all students feel empowered to seek help and thrive academically, personally, and socially.”