Mental Health & Wellness

Frequently Asked Questions 

What wellness 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 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! 

Who do I reach out to if I have an urgent need after hours?

If you experience urgent needs outside of Counseling Services' hours, please see the on-duty Community Coordinator or call 919.416.2835. All 17 UNC campuses, including NCSSM, are partnering with Protocall to enhance our current after-hours, mental health crisis support for students. NCSSM faculty and staff will help students access mental health resources for crisis assessment, intervention, and stabilization through Protocall’s licensed professional staff and NCSSM Counseling Services when needed.

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.

Can someone be sent home from NCSSM for mental health reasons?

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 counselor(s), 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.