LBWCC offers counseling services through Saints in Action

Published 9:15 am Saturday, September 2, 2023

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LBW Community College was confronted this year with a growing concern many colleges are facing among its student body — addressing reported high levels and frequency of mental health distress.

Psychological distress among postsecondary students is increasing at an alarming rate and LBW is no exception. While the need for mental health counseling services at LBW has been discussed for years, its importance was confirmed and amplified by institutional research conducted by the college in 2022 to assess students’ basic needs. The college was further challenged with establishing the ways and means to provide easily accessible counseling services that can be sustained.

The reported levels and frequency of mental health distress was a call to action for LBW staff. In the spring of 2023, LBW submitted a grant proposal for mental health services titled, Saints In Action, under the Liaison IMPACT program; LBW was recently notified its proposal was awarded and is funded in full. Due to the generosity of Liaison International, the grant will fund a total of 260 30-minute counseling sessions by a licensed professional. The community-based partnership that will be employed under this grant will help bring awareness to the resources offered in the service area. 

The counseling sessions can be scheduled in-person or via telehealth in an effort to remove barriers for access and social stigmas. These essential mental health services will be offered free of charge to students; given LBW’s rural location and high poverty rate within the service area, providing such services free of charge to the student body is groundbreaking.

“The well-being of our students is our number one priority,” LBW Community College President Dr. Brock Kelley said. “As a rural community college, and true to our core mission, LBW is committed to helping meet the needs of our student body by partnering with outside entities to enhance resources for everyone at LBW.”

The mental health practitioners, along with LBW staff and faculty, are committed to continuing to search for innovative ways to involve at-risk students. Aside from mental health counseling services offered to students on campus and through tele-health options, LBW aims to improve outcomes for students beyond postsecondary education through systemic approaches, including prevention and enhanced coping strategies. Counseling services provided to LBW students will also equip individuals with increased self-awareness and early recognition signs of mental health warning risks and triggers through proactive and integrative care.

LBW aims to positively impact the student population by fostering an environment of support and inclusion for students who suffer from mental illness; by providing these vital services, LBW hopes to improve the overall well-being of students and increase their chance of successful degree completion.