University Webex meetings for healing and therapy

Illustration by Monique Rojas | The Signal

Student stress, anxiety and depression have increased since the pandemic began. Universities must give students time to breathe and provide resources for good self-care and opportunities for talk therapy. 

Despite the significant drop in on-campus students, I interviewed three graduate students employed by the Black Student Achievement center.

Michael Kimble, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in sociology while teaching undergrad students, believes that students need a break. 

“[S]tudent engagement is low because students are apathetic. They’re tired of Zoom meetings and Webex meetings,” Kimble said. 

Georgia State counselors should host talk therapy sessions for students battling depression and anxiety. Counselors should also host Webex sessions where they discuss different self-care and relaxation methods, practice these methods weekly and offer them in both group and individual settings. 

After being asked if students could use Webex for talk therapy and self-care, he responded, “Yes, I think you can replicate some of the aspects of cathartic, stress-relieving group setting.”

Webex is the common platform used for online class meetings, but students can also use the platform for talk therapy and self-care meetings mediated by Georgia State counselors. Talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy, is what mental health professionals use to communicate with their patients, help them identify issues that cause stress and educate them on how to deal with negative feelings properly. 

Derek Akpuchukwu, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in public administration, believes Georgia State should require mandatory weekly check-ins with professors to decrease student stress. 

Jasmine Clay, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in public administration, said that her professors were “less accessible” despite this semester being mostly online. She went on to say that her motivation is lacking and she feels drained. 

During these turbulent times, students would greatly benefit from online counseling services. However, what services are available to students may not be appealing to those needing them. 

Georgia State’s counseling center has integrated health services and wellness programs online. These events, however, are group settings, and typically do not touch on personal issues. Looking to counseling specifically, counseling services are available online with appointments. Students can call the office for a consultation, as well as reach the crisis line for after-hour emergencies.

Georgia Tech has implemented a virtual counseling program, “Let’s Talk”. In an effort to stay socially distanced, Georgia Tech counselors invite students to a weekly 15-minute virtual consultation. These meetings take place on Webex. The consultation is private, brief and exactly what many students are seeking during this time.

Georgia Tech’s “Let’s Talk” is a no-paperwork-needed opportunity to have an informal but supportive conversation with a professional during these turbulent times. This optional support is one of many suggestions Georgia State may want to consider going into the spring semester.

Webex is an excellent tool for class meetings, but universities should refrain from limiting its capabilities. Although most students are off-campus, Webex still allows them to encourage others and receive advice from counselors about promoting and practicing good mental health behaviors.