GV University Counseling Center says ‘Let’s Talk’

Anthony Clark Jr. , Staff Writer

GVL / Meghan Landgren

Grand Valley State University students can receive free, informal consultations this semester through University Counseling Center’s (UCC) “Let’s Talk” meetings. 

These meetings are offered to all students as an avenue for those who want to learn more about the benefits of counseling and the services available at GVSU. 

The consultations are held online and in-person in room 1140 of the Kirkhof Center from 3 -5 p.m. In-person seating is limited and is first-come, first-serve and no RSVP or appointment is necessary.

When they attend, students are given the opportunity to see what it’s like to speak with a UCC counselor individually for roughly 20-25 minutes and can discuss a specific problem with them if they choose.

Individuals who’re not looking for ongoing counseling but would like to receive one-on-one support and/or consultation can also benefit from these informal meetings.

Maha Baalbaki, Coordinator of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives, said it’s important that the university is providing services for students, as mental health can affect everyday life.

“Mental health is always an important factor to consider because it affects how we think, feel and act,” Baalbaki said. “Let’s Talk can be an easy way for GVSU students to individually consult with a counselor. It can be a great space for students who would like to talk through a specific problem, explore solutions, get the perspective of a counselor or feel what it’s like to talk with a professional.”

GVSU is also hosting a bi-weekly sub-series every other Thursday for Black students to discuss mental health, led by adjunct counselor Chris Pierrant. The meetings can be joined either virtually or in-person in Room 1140 of the Kirkhof Center from 3-5 p.m.

Junior Mason Denczek said students’ mental health is something many in the GVSU community are concerned about. 

“It’s a step in the right direction for the university as a whole,” Denczek said. “The GVSU community has been through some unprecedented times recently and some students may have felt alone with no one to talk to. With GV offering free counseling, it will help lessen the weight students are carrying on their shoulders. It shows our school is not only dedicated to students’ physical health but mental health too.”

Junior Hannah Schafer and said GVSU’s mental health resources show the university cares about students’ wellbeing and is making an effort to interact with students. 

“Personally, I think it’s great that Grand Valley is offering counseling for students,” Schafer said. “School is such a large part of our lives, whether full or part-time, and can affect our mental health in a lot of ways.”

Baalbaki said she hopes these sessions can help students to become more mindful of their mental health. 

With the pandemic increasing stress levels and impacting daily routines, we’ve got to make sure that we’re taking care of ourselves and being mindful of how our mental health is affecting us,” Baalbaki said.

These meetings shouldn’t be used to receive help with a crisis. Instead, students undergoing a crisis should refer to the university’s emergency services.