Asia Perry

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Health and Counseling Services at Winthrop University has introduced a number of new programs and services this school year to better assist students, including online therapy and group counseling.

Telemental health services were introduced last semester and enables the school to offer online video counseling to students located in South Carolina and North Carolina, where Winthrop is licensed.

Dr. Gretchen Baldwin, clinical coordinator for Health and Counseling Services, said telemental health helps students who are unable to make it to campus or don’t feel comfortable coming in to the office.

“It’s one of our newest endeavors and the number one way we’ve been trying to reach people that have been previously unreached,” said Baldwin.

Additionally, Winthrop has partnered with TAO (Therapy Assistance Online), which is a web portal that students can visit anytime of day to access mental health resources.

“A student can access (TAO) for free; its confidential. Late at night if they are feeling anxious, they can go on and get some self-help for anxiety,” said Baldwin.

Baldwin said the counseling center has also introduced group counseling, but admits it has been a little difficult getting students to participate.

The center has started a few groups, including one for sexual assault victims, but students can also create their own counseling groups.

“If a student is interested in an particular group and helps drum up interest in it, then we can take it and run with it, but it really depends on the student’s desire and the need for that kind of thing,” said Baldwin.

Transfer student Jordan Brown said he had trouble adjusting to campus life and making friends at Winthrop, so he joined a counseling group called the “Man Cave.”

“I had talked to my roommate about feeling out of place and how things weren’t going as smooth. I was still dealing with depression and he recommended I just go to the Counseling Services and see what they can do,” said Brown. “So I did.”

Brown said he was happy to learn these services are included with his tuition and he only had to attend an informational session to be placed with a counselor or group.

“I figured, since I was new to the school, joining a group would help with making friends. Then I found out that there was a group of people who we all can relate to each other; I couldn’t believe it,” said Brown.

Baldwin said Winthrop is always looking for ways to encourage students to utilize the resources offered by Health and Counseling Services.

The office is located in room 204 of the Crawford Building and it offers after-hours and weekend care for emergencies.