Counseling and Mental Health Services at Tufts now offers an online appointment scheduling system, has student mental health representatives, and is hosting a Mental Health and Wellbeing Fair on Monday as part of the Week mental health awareness.
Julie Jampel, director of training at CMHS, said the launch of the new appointment scheduling system has been positive and students have taken advantage of the option.
“It’s been busy,” Jampel said. “It’s definitely used.”
Online appointment booking was previously in place for the Ask a Counselor service, which is informal 15-minute phone consultations that can be used to quickly discuss a problem or determine if therapy might be right for a student. . From now on, the online system is available for all appointments, including individual support.
This is also the first year since the start of the pandemic in 2020 that CMHS is again offering in-person appointments.
“We are excited about the new school year and the return to in-person appointments and having it as an option again,” Jampel said.
The Zoom option remains available and is popular among students.
“We are now going back to in-person dates and students are asking for it,” Jampel said. “They also ask for a lot of Zoom dates because it’s convenient and it works for people for other reasons.”
This year, CMHS is also using Mental Health Representatives to increase student awareness and programming. Mental Health Representatives were created last year, but especially with COVID-19 preventing some in-person actions last year, they are still a new group on campus. Mental Health Representatives serve as a liaison between CMHS and the student body.
“Mental Health Representatives work directly with CMHS staff to help advocate for mental health support, reduce stigma, and promote mental and emotional well-being,” wrote advocacy specialist Erica Schonman. mental health at CMHS, in an email to the Daily.
Mental health representatives will attend the mental health and wellness fair CMHS is hosting on the rooftop of the Tisch Library on Monday. The fair will include booths from various departments to help students learn skills and resources to benefit mental health, as well as free food, therapy dogs and prizes.
Mental Health Awareness Week events will span across all Tufts campuses. Programming will include workshops and talks, as well as yoga, meditation and journaling sessions.
Jed Quiaoit, a mental health representative, said their programming aims to raise awareness of the many services offered by CMHS.
“Believe it or not, only about 20% of students have actually used CMHS services,” said Quiaoit, a sophomore.
He highlighted workshops with clubs and organizations on campus and working with centers in the Student Diversity and Inclusion Division as part of the work of mental health representatives.
“[We want to] bring more discussion about mental health because obviously Tufts is a very diverse student body so maybe in some cultures it’s stigmatized, in some cultures it’s not normalized so we want to move forward the conversation,” Quiaoit said.
This year, there are nine students in the group. Quiaoit was inspired to join because as a freshman last year, he said he wished he had known about CMHS sooner.
“Last year, … I was transitioning to campus and also identify as first generation. … I only knew about CMHS in the mid-spring semester,” Quiaoit said. “I wanted to…promote mental health awareness in a more personalized sense.”
In addition to these newer initiatives, CMHS is again offering its aforementioned individual counselor and counseling services, as it does annually. CMHS also has a variety of counseling groups and workshops. Counseling groups include topics ranging from loss to addiction to body positivity and meet weekly, with a mandatory pre-meeting with a counselor. Workshops meet once or twice to discuss topics such as Black well-being, isolation as an international student, or identification as a multicultural/mixed-race person. Workshops can be a good option for students who want to build community or who cannot commit to one-on-one counseling.
“Someone who attends a workshop doesn’t have to be there for every meeting, if there’s a series,” Jampel said. “If the workshop is a suitable match, they just sign up to attend.”