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News

NOTICE: Counseling Center operations for the remainder of Spring 2020 semester UPDATE

The Counseling Center is currently making every effort to contact each client who has an appointment scheduled during the remainder of the semester (appointments are currently scheduled out through the 2nd week of April). Clients are being offered the following options: 1) Clients will be encouraged to transition their appointment to telemental health, as long as they are still within the state of Georgia, 2) If the client is in the vicinity of the Counseling Center and prefers to not engage in telemental health, they can keep their already scheduled appointment and meet in person, 3) If the client is not interested in either option – or is now residing outside of Georgia, referral resources can be provided. These options apply for our psychiatric services on each campus as well.

At this point, only students who are still in the vicinity of one of our Counseling Centers will be able to have Intake sessions, as telemental health will not be available for Intake appointments (current best practice dictates that clients be seen face to face for an initial session to determine their appropriateness for telemental health). Thus, any student who currently has an intake appointment scheduled, and is not able to come to the counseling center, will be provided with referral resources, as will students calling to make new intake appointments.

Counselors who regularly offer Drop-In Workshops (non-confidential sessions that are based on teaching various skills related to mental health) are working to offer these via YouTube video that will be uploaded to the Counseling Center webpage. We are working out the details on being able to provide group therapy (in a modified manner) via the same platform we are using for individual on-line counseling. Until those details are settled, all therapy groups will remain closed.

All students are reminded that the Counseling Center maintains 24/7 crisis access. Students can call during business hours and request to be transferred to the crisis counselor, or when the center is closed, can call 912-478-5541 and select option 2 from the voicemail menu. In addition, students can access the free Georgia Crisis and Access Line at 1-800-715-4225 for either crisis assistance or assistance with locating a mental health resource in their area.


NOTICE: Counseling Center operations for March 13-29

The Counseling Center is currently making every effort to contact each client who has an appointment scheduled during the next 2 weeks.  Clients will be offered the following options: 1) If the client is in the vicinity of the Counseling Center, they can keep their already scheduled appointment and meet in person, 2) If the client has either left town or does not want to come to campus for their appointment, arrangements can be made for a telemental health session, 3) If the client is not interested in either option, referral resources can be provided.

Telemental health is not available for Intake appointments, as best practice dictates that clients be seen face to face to determine their appropriateness for this service.  Thus, any student who has an intake appointment between now and March 29, and is not able to come to the counseling center, will have their intake rescheduled.

The counseling center is not scheduling any new appointments until after March 29.

All students are reminded that the Counseling Center maintains 24/7 crisis access.  Students can call during business hours and request to be transferred to the crisis counselor, or when the center is closed, can call 912-478-5541 and select option 2 from the voicemail menu. In addition, students can access the free Georgia Crisis and Access Line at 1-800-715-4225 for either crisis assistance or assistance with locating a mental health resource in their area.

During the next two weeks, all therapy groups and drop-in workshops will be closed.  These services will resume when the university resumes standard operations.


Georgia Southern Counseling Center Director receives national award

Rebecca K. Smith, assistant director of the Georgia Southern University Counseling Center (GSU-CC), was awarded the Professional Leadership award during the American College Counseling Association (ACCA) annual conference in Washington, D.C.

The award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated leadership in some aspect of college counseling as it relates to the purposes and goals of ACCA, or leadership and contributions to ACCA as a professional organization. 

Smith received a Master of Arts in Community and Agency Counseling in 1999 from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Prior to joining the Armstrong Campus Counseling Center in May 2018 as assistant director, she served as associate director of counseling at Valdosta State University. Smith served as chair of the Social Media Committee of the ACCA from 2016-2018, and she currently serves as Secretary of the ACCA for 2018-2020.

The GSU-CC is accredited by the International Accreditation of Counseling Services. Its mission is to provide direct clinical services to the students of Georgia Southern, outreach and prevention programming to the University communities and professional development and training for mental health providers.


Georgia Southern Counseling Center staff honored by Georgia College Counseling Association

Three staff members from the Georgia Southern University Counseling Center (GSU-CC) were recognized with awards for their work in the field during the Georgia College Counseling Association Annual Conference and Awards on St. Simons Island, Georgia. 

Mark Taracuk, a doctoral intern in professional health psychology at the GSU-CC, was awarded the 2020 President’s Grant Award.  A student at Oklahoma State University who is finishing a Ph.D. in counseling psychology, Taracuk’s previous clinical experiences include work in a pediatric hospital, community mental health center, psychiatric inpatient hospital and college counseling centers.

Mental health counselor Angela Landers was awarded the Clinical Program of the Year for Mindful Yoga, an open workshop in which students learn yoga postures to cope with anxiety, depression and trauma while exploring the mind-body connection. She is a licensed professional counselor and certified professional counselor supervisor. At GSU-CC, she serves as practicum coordinator and wellness coordinator.

Practicum therapist Carolyn Miller, who is working toward a Master of Education degree in clinical mental health counseling, was awarded the Graduate Student Meritorious Service Award. Miller received her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in child and family development at Georgia Southern in 2018. Currently, she is the graduate assistant for the University’s Sexual Assault Response Team.

In addition, GSU-CC staff were elected to the Georgia College Counseling Association Council, including mental health counselors Amanda Kort, as the coastal representative, Erika Sledge, as fundraising chair, and case manager Nikita Robinson as the representative at large.

The GSU-CC is accredited by the International Accreditation of Counseling Services. Its mission is to provide direct clinical services to the students of Georgia Southern, outreach and prevention programming to the University communities and professional development and training for mental health providers.


GNESA Statement on At-home Rape Kits

The Georgia Southern SART team is completely aligned with the Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault (GNESA) in opposing at-home rape kits. Read GNESA’s statement below:

The Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault (GNESA) opposes the use of at-home rape kits and is greatly concerned about marketing of them to the general public. Me Too Kit is a company that has claimed to create the first at-home rape kit. Me Too Kit has started a waitlist for their kits on their website and developed a pilot program for colleges and universities. GNESA strongly urges against purchasing and using this at-home kit. The at-home kits pose concerns for confidentiality, the victim’s safety and well-being, chain of custody and admissibility in court.

GNESA wants to make sure that victims of sexual assault in the state of Georgia understand that they have the right to a free “forensic medical exam” provided by a medical professional.

A forensic medical exam consists of forensic evidence collection, a full medical exam, STI and pregnancy prevention options, STI treatment, and treatment for medical injuries. These exam services are not provided by the at-home kit. Access to a rape crisis center or campus advocate may be available when being examined in a sexual assault center, hospital or medical center but is obviously not included with the at-home kits.

A forensic exam following a rape is conducted by a medical professional, often a specially trained sexual assault nurse examiner or forensic examiner. An exam is necessary for rape victims who choose to have their evidence collected and receive medical treatment. This kit obviously cannot provide needed medical care and other services that are available when exams are performed in a sexual assault center, hospital or medical center.

We do not advise anyone to use an at-home rape kit as a viable alternative to a forensic exam. We also do not advise that any college or university encourage students to use this product or make it available for use.

Other organizations have released statements critical of the ‘MeToo Kits,’ including the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, the International Association of Forensic Nurses, the Campus Advocacy and Prevention Professionals Association (CAPPA), and the Michigan Attorney General’s Office.
Sexual assault centers throughout Georgia are community based advocacy centers who offer free and confidential services to victims/survivors of sexual violence—available 24/7. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence you can find your local advocacy center at https://www.gnesa.org/page/rape-crisis-centers-georgia or by calling 1-800-656-4673 for the closest center.

Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault (GNESA) provides leadership and resources for sexual assault centers, programs and allies to prevent sexual violence while promoting a comprehensive, socially just response for all victim/survivor. We support, convene, and collaborate with sexual assault centers, programs, advocates, prosecutors, medical personnel and law enforcement officers to promote a more victim-centered response to sexual violence, and increase effective criminal justice. We believe sexism, racism, homophobia, classism, oppression of people with disabilities, religious oppression, and ageism are among the root causes of sexual violence. GNESA is committed to challenging and changing institutions, issues, practices and policies that promote these systems of oppression.

Published September 16, 2019