Student Counseling Center, Student Support continue operations remotely


Student Counseling Center, Student Support continue operations remotely


This story was originally published in the news section of The Rocket's website,




Haley Potter


SRU Student


The Student Counseling Center and Student Support are still operating through COVID-19 in an online setting and over the phone. Any student needing support can still receive the care and support that they need in a non-face-to-face setting.

Kenneth Messina, the director of the Student Counseling Center, said that as of Monday, phone services will be resumed for students who need counseling.

“The best way to get set up for phone consultation with one of our counselors would be to email [] to schedule an appointment,” Messina said.

He said that another thing he refers to a lot is the Psychology Today website, where students can find therapists in their local area while at home. There is a “Therapist Finder” tab on the website.

“Students can sort through location, insurance, specialty area and other options to find someone who is online,” Messina said.

Karla Fonner, the director of Student Support, said that the easiest way to seek student support during this time is through a care report.

“Students can go to the university webpage and search for care report and fill out a care referral form that comes directly to us,” Fonner said. “Once we have that, we can go ahead and connect with them in whatever way that they are needing.”

Fonner said that students can also email her directly, at

“I am checking my email while working from home, so if a student doesn’t feel like filling out the form, they can certainly just send me an email,” Fonner said.

Once emails and care reports are received, student support will reach out to the student. Student Support has been utilizing Zoom, a video communications app, to have face-to-face meetings over the internet with students.

“All of our meetings have been happening through Zoom, though, if a student can’t get to Zoom but have FaceTime, we can have FaceTime meetings,” Fonner said. “However we can connect with students, we are, we just aren’t doing any in person meetings.”

Fonner said some students are experiencing additional anxiety during this time of uncertainty with the coronavirus, while other students are relieved because their stress comes from interpersonal interactions in the classroom. She said most of the students she is talking to right now are overly anxious about what is going to happen between online classes and financial concerns.

Fonner said that other students are back in homes with families that they may not get along with.

“Even if you have a really good relationship with your family, that transition back home after the first time away from college can be kind of bumpy,” she said.

Fonner said that the students she typically works with are having difficulties adjusting to this change.

“A change for uncertainty can be really hard for people,” Fonner said.

Messina said that as of right now the counseling center is focusing on phone calls.

“One concern we have is we would be meeting with a student on Zoom and then the app would crash because there would be so many people trying to use it,” Messina said. “We decided to go with phone calls to reduce the chance of any problems or for people who don’t have reliable internet connections.”

Messina said that a secretary is monitoring emails daily and will connect students with one of the six counselors who are working from home. He also said that the Counseling Center is implementing some new ideas such as a YouTube Channel with common ways to deal with stress and mental health issues, a live counselor on Slack and a weekly newsletter.

Students can also follow the counseling center on Twitter @srucounseling.

David Wilmes, chief student affairs officer, has created two focus groups for student affairs. Both are in the beginning stages, according to Fonner, but one is specific to student involvement and engagement, and the other is specific to student support and outreach.

Fonner said these focus groups may present some different opportunities for students to get educational programming online. The Rocket will stay updated with these plans over the next couple of weeks.

Messina encourages students who may be feeling overly anxious, depressed or in need of services to reach out.

Anyone who may be struggling can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 or reach the Crisis Text Line 24/7 by texting “START” to 741-741.


Student Counseling Center, Student Support continue operations remotely - The Rocket.pdf



Hannah Shumsky, “Student Counseling Center, Student Support continue operations remotely,” Shared Voices, Shared Experiences: COVID-19 and the Slippery Rock Community, accessed July 13, 2024,

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