Athens State University expands counseling services - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Athens State University expands counseling services

(Source: Raycom) (Source: Raycom)

College life can be fun and challenging.  For some students, there can be obstacles.  

Athens State University is rising to meet many of those challenges through counseling.  Director of Career Development and Counseling Services, Saralyn Mitchell said it is a very personal choice, but help is readily available.    

"You never know whether you are going to have challenges with your school work, challenges in maybe work life, if you are balancing a job and coming to school, which many of our students are," said Mitchell. "You don't know you need it until you do. And it's great that we can provide that for our students and there's not a charge for that."

Licensed Professional Counselor, Lisa Philippart, said in her time at Athens State she has seen people from 18 to 70 years of age and a broad spectrum of issues.  

"If they're in their 20's they're having some difficulty with some study skills, maybe even some social skills...some anxiety or depression," said Philippart.

She said her purpose here is to do some short-term type of therapy.   

"And it it's something more serious like we're working on anxiety, depression, something that they're not able to overcome within a short period of time, then they're referred on to the mental health center," said Philippart.

Being away from home is tough on anyone, but especially on a college student who may have had problems with drugs or alcohol in the past.  In fact for many of these students, they feel like they're behind the 8 ball.

Mitchell said there is more to offer.   

"Besides our mental health counselor, we also have a substance abuse counselor that's available on campus," Mitchell added.

Wendy Johnson is a prevention specialist who focuses on abuse problems.  

"If things come up to where they may trigger some old addictions that they have, we can just give them support, encouragement to stay on the right track," said Johnson. "Give them stats and facts about how alcohol and drugs can be very dangerous to their brain, to their relationships, can slow their process of even finishing school ."

But knowing they have someone in their corner can be half the battle.  

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