Mental Health and Wellness
The Counseling Services department is dedicated to providing support and assistance for NCSSM students as they grow in all dimensions —emotionally, intellectually, physically, spiritually, and socially.
Every NCSSM student is assigned to a counselor. Students are encouraged to develop a relationship with their counselor during their time here. Counseling Services provides support and care for each student through personal and academic counseling, college planning, college representative visits, group information sessions, parent/guardian meetings, and student-teacher meetings.
During Trimester 1, Counseling Services is open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 am - 7:00 pm and Friday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm. During Trimesters 2 and 3, Counseling Services is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. At the beginning of each academic year, your assigned counselor will provide you with a link to his/her Google calendar so that you may schedule an appointment at your convenience. Counselors and students have very busy schedules, so it is important to schedule an appointment in advance to ensure you are able to meet with your counselor.
Frequently Asked Questions
What personal counseling services are provided by the NCSSM counselors?
NCSSM students will be able to resolve most of the difficulties they experience at school by utilizing their current support system. However, there may be times when academic, social and emotional challenges interfere with their overall well-being. These issues may include: homesickness, anxiety, depression, inability to concentrate, family crises, stress, relationship difficulties, low self-esteem, unhealthy coping mechanisms or self-destructive behaviors. Many students just need to talk and frequently seek out their counselor without having any “identified problem.” In other words, it is okay just to talk with the counselor to get another perspective, talk about ideas, or simply build a relationship with another adult in the community.
What would I talk to a counselor about?
NCSSM counselors are available to talk to you about anything that is on your mind. We help students who are struggling with academic challenges, relationship difficulties, feelings of depression or anxiety, or anything that you may want to discuss with another person.
When should I see my counselor for personal reasons?
NCSSM counselors understand that not all students have had a positive experience with members of the counseling profession. We also understand that NCSSM students can be very independent people who often pride themselves on finding solutions to their own problems. A lot of students will talk to each other before seeking out a trusted adult or mental health professional. This informal helping network is an extremely important part of the residential life experience at NCSSM, and we encourage our students to take full advantage of peer and adult relationships. Often times, the decision to see their counselor is made during a crisis situation or after an extended period of emotional pain, problems or confusion. This can be a humbling experience in which students sometimes feel ashamed or embarrassed that they need help from an outside source. More often than not, mental health is a decision that is enhanced by admitting a need for assistance. The process of counseling is designed to meet that need.
Seeing your assigned counselor for emotional/psychological reasons is a personal decision. Some students come to their counselor for a few meetings to help clarify their thinking, check in about specific issues in their lives, or just talk with someone who is willing to listen. Other students come in for one session just to see if talking about the issue or concern will help or to get a second opinion separate from their other resources. Sometimes they come in with a friend and sometimes a friend brings them in. Students often seek out the counselors when issues or concerns affect them personally or academically. A good rule of thumb is if you are thinking about talking with someone or another person suggests you talk to someone, then it is time to see a counselor. When the usual ways of handling a situation no longer seem productive, you feel like you're in a vicious cycle, or things are just not getting better, then it is time to talk. Talking about a situation before it turns into a major crisis is a great way to enhance self-esteem and build effective coping mechanisms. It also makes you feel better!
What do I do if I feel like counseling is not helping me?
Are you taking the counselor’s suggestions? Trying out new things takes both practice and time. Change does not come overnight and can take a fair amount of effort. If these things are still not helpful it may be that you need a more structured level of care than NCSSM can provide. In such a case, every effort will be made to help the student find an appropriate off-campus referral. Parents/guardians and students may sign a release for exchange of information so that the off-campus referral and NCSSM counselor may work together to provide support to the student.
What do I do if a friend comes to me and does not want help?
Friends have the right to refuse help or to take your suggestions but not put them into practice. Sometimes a friend just feels better sharing what is going on and is not really looking for any “help”. Listening can go a long way in making someone feel better. You can also go with your friend to his/her counselor, which may help the friend feel less anxious and more supported. If you continue to be encouraging, supportive and persistent and your friend still refuses help, it would be good for you to talk with someone about how you are feeling. It can be painful to watch someone go through something and not accept the help that is being offered. Finally, if you feel your friend is in any sort of danger to himself or others, you need to tell someone so that we can find the appropriate resource for them. Go to an adult on campus whom you trust to ask for advice on how to handle the situation.
Can someone be sent home from NCSSM for mental illness?
Reasonable efforts are always made to accommodate the emotional and learning differences of students. In other words, if a student is feeling depressed, there may be things that can be done on campus and in the classroom before considering other alternatives. If a student’s emotional or learning differences cannot be reasonably accommodated, or a student clearly needs a more restrictive level of care, meetings are held with the student, parents/guardians, NCSSM counselors and Vice Chancellor for Student Life to determine what resources inside and outside of NCSSM need to be put into place. In some cases it may not be in the student’s best interest to remain at NCSSM. These decisions are made with input from the student, the counselors, parents/guardians and the Vice Chancellor for Student Life. NCSSM cares about students well-being and their ability to function safely and independently in both the academic and residential components of the school.