Counseling Center

2020-2021 Year in Review

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Phew, and what a year it was!

We would like to take a moment to thank our colleagues from around the University for all of your collaboration in helping to provide such a caring network of support for our undergraduate and graduate students. The fact that so many of you take the time to talk with students, offer support, and connect them to the Counseling Center when needed, goes a long way in making sure that our students are academically and psychologically successful.

In mid-March 2020 in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Counseling Center fully shifted our service delivery model to continue meeting the needs of our students. The lack of social contact and activities, disruption of routines, loss of part-time jobs, and burden of online classes, negatively impacted the mental health of our students, who were already experiencing significant anxiety, depression, and stress. The staff responded exceptionally well to these challenges, quickly becoming trained in teletherapy services offered remotely through a HIPPA-compliant version of Zoom, providing virtual emergency services, and navigating licensing restrictions in providing ongoing teletherapy for students outside of Maryland. This report highlights significant factors unique to the 2019-20 year in the areas of clinical services, public health, and diversity.

Did you know?

Our website was visited over 127,000 times!

With the help of Marcomm, our team revamped our entire website last summer and it has clearly paid off. Not only do our Loyola students love it, and we've received requests for support with other websites of centers across the country. Come check it out!

Clinical Services

  • We experienced very high clinical demand in 2020-21, with 2,833 total sessions, 835 students seeking counseling, 557 group therapy contacts, and 363 consultations provided to other concerned individuals. This high demand occurred in the context of strong continued growth of demand for services over the past 10 years.
  • More first year students are coming to Loyola with previous counseling. For students who seek services at the Counseling Center, 74% report having already been in therapy. One third of our clients reported that they have been experiencing the problems that brought them to the Counseling Center for 1-2 years or more. These changes are consistent with national trends.
  • We provided HIPAA-compliant telehealth services in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to support our students attending virtually in states outside of Maryland, we attained temporary clinical licensure in 12 states allowing our center to more fully support students throughout the pandemic.
  • Indicators of overall levels of distress (e.g., life satisfaction, energy level, motivation), clinical symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem), and specific areas of life functioning (e.g., academic performance, relationship satisfaction, physical health) showed significant improvement by the end of counseling.

Supporting Loyola’s Mission, Values, & Goals

  • Retention: Data from a post-treatment survey showed that being in counseling directly contributed to the retention of 376 students.

  • Academic Success: Survey data also showed that being in counseling directly contributed to the academic success of 818 students.

  • Belonging: To help keep the Loyola community and our partners updated on our latest initiatives, this year we launched our quarterly newsletter "The Retreat." Visit the archives on our website for past issues.

Preventive Outreach and Public Health

Public health campaigns have promoted awareness of today’s college student issues and the benefits of counseling. These efforts have been making the Center more visible and approachable to students. This year, our campaigns focused on resilience and coping with the pandemic. Staff partnered successfully with other offices (e.g., ALANA, Women’s Center, Graduate Student Services, Athletics, Take Back the Night).

  • The Resilience campaign (samples below) provided psychoeducational resources for students throughout a uniquely challenging year in our society and the world.
  • Over 3,290 student contacts occurred in over 145 outreach programs.
  • Implementation of Campus Connect Suicide Prevention program continued.
  • We convened the Illness and Loss team (with Academic Services and Campus Ministry) to continue promotion of the network of resources (e.g., counseling, academic, residential and spiritual) available to Loyola students.

Inaugural Mental Health Task Force

This year saw the successful visioning and implementation of the Mental Health Task Force with partners across campus. Highlights of the year included the creation of liaison relationships across campus, public health messaging regarding the pandemic and self-care, and a focus on the well-being of Loyola's marginalized students.

This year's members:

  • Nadia Alsamadi- Graduate Student Rep (2020-2022)
  • Kourtney Bennett- Counseling Center
  • Adrian Black- Public Safety
  • Sheila Graham- Counseling Center
  • Andrea Hoffman- Student-Athlete Support Services
  • Hayley Holloway- Counseling Center
  • Melissa Lees- Women's Center
  • Lisa Oberbroeckling- Department of Mathematics & Statistics
  • Jason Parcover- Counseling Center
  • Janet Preis- Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences
  • Katherine Shoemaker- Undergrad Rep (2020-2021)
  • Christina Spearman- Dean of Students
  • Dennis Velez- ALANA Services
  • Marcia Wiedefeld- Disability Support Services

Responding to the needs of an increasingly diverse population

We continue to work with campus partners to enhance connections with student organizations that address the needs of ALANA and LGBTQIA students. Our Cultural Alliance work consists of consultation, programming, research and training on cultural identity initiatives and advocacy for members of culturally under-represented student groups. Read here for more on our DEI efforts: Counseling Center Social Justice Work.

Our Instagram account is lit!

Staff bolstered social media communication to share mental health resources with the broad community. Rates of participation by students increased dramatically (with an increase of over 200% in regular participation up to almost 700 students.).

End of Year Data

Development of Mind, Body & Spirit: Post-treatment survey data demonstrated that being in counseling helped an overwhelming majority of students improve their emotional health, become more effective in their relationships with others, and increased their understanding of themselves and their motivations.

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Counseling Services Remain in High Demand

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Group Counseling Program Continues Successful Growth

A great deal of research shows group counseling to be a very effective form of treatment for many of the challenges experienced by college students. The growth of our group counseling program has been an effective means of dealing with increased clinical demand. Students continue to report overwhelmingly positive feedback about their experiences in groups.

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How do Students Find Us?

Students are referred to the Center from a variety of sources. As in prior years, students very often came to our offices by the suggestion of a friend, highlighting the importance of our strategic outreach to all students.

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Making a Referral

  • Be caring, firm, and straight forward in your recommendations
  • Suggest that the student call or come in to make an appointment: Humanities 150, 410-617-2273
  • Call or walk the student over yourself, if an emergency
  • Remind the student that services are FREE AND CONFIDENTIAL

Report Bizarre or Disruptive Behavior
  • Dean of Students: 410-617-5171
  • Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies: 410-617-5050

Meeting the needs of diverse student population

Students who came to the Center mirror our overall enrollment.

Important to our mission of ensuring the accessibility of service to all students, 32% of students who came to the Center were from under-represented backgrounds & 16% identified as first-generation to attend college.

  • We served 76 students who self-identified as sexual minorities.
  • We saw similar ratios of students from each academic class.
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Why Do Students Come to the Counseling Center?

Anxiety and stress management continue to be the most common client identified concerns.
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We collect data from students who use our services, which helps us to continuously enhance our services and ensure we are meeting the changing needs of Loyola students.

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An extremely high percentage of students are satisfied with the Center, our staff, and services.

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About us

The Counseling Center is accredited by the International Association of Counseling Services (IACS).