The sudden, drastic weather change can affect more than icy roads, cold walks across campus and the need for multiple layers in our everyday lives. Mental Health America claims that about 5 percent of the U.S. population is affected by seasonal depression. That’s why this November it’s helpful to understand the services MSU offers you or the people around you who might be struggling.
MSU’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) is situated in a cozy little corner of the Swingler building between the SUB and Barnard Hall leading to room 211 on the second floor. Faculty, staff, graduate students and undergraduate students can go through the process of receiving help by scheduling an appointment either by walk-in or phone. You can reach CPS at (406) 994-4531.
During your first appointment, you will meet with an intake counselor. This meeting is crucial for CPS to understand what you are dealing with and how they can best meet your needs as an individual. They can pair you with a counselor that best fits your needs and personality, and will recommend the help they feel best suit you.
This could mean utilizing services such as counseling, group sessions or referring you to someone in the community who is best equipped for your case. Specifically, CPS assists students and faculty in managing stress, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts and transitional periods in adulthood and academia. Group sessions might be recommended for students to help them feel more connected and understood, where they might discuss mindfulness skills, interpersonal skills and depression/anxiety management.
Laura Thum, outreach coordinator of CPS, says they are starting a drop-in group therapy session soon, and looks forward to utilizing this format more. She also mentioned other services CPS provides, such as couples counseling and suicide awareness training.
For students unsure about contacting CPS, there are online services, information, education and surveys readily available at any time. The surveys are particularly helpful for students who aren’t sure about where they stand with their mental health or how to go about dealing with it at montana.edu/wwwcc.
CPS is always open for students in crisis, no matter how busy they become. They have recently hired permanent staff with the increased demand for services so they can continue to “do a good job meeting students’ needs and getting them in as soon as possible,” Thum said.
“We try to reach out to the community, not just in times of crisis,” she said. CPS does this by giving informational seminars to departments and classes about stress, anxiety, coping skills and many other common issues students face. Recently, Thum partnered with the Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success for a workshop on test anxiety. She will be working with Gallatin Valley College soon to talk about how to help students in distress.
There are other organizations on campus that CPS works closely with, such as the Native American Center, the Queer Straight Alliance, Graduate Housing and the Office of Health Advancement.
CPS is also a great resource for Psychology and Counseling Graduates to gain training and experience. They offer Kognito At-Risk training to give people in the field experience interacting with actual students and learning how to meet their needs.
If you or a friend is struggling with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, identity, sexuality, stress, coping, relationships, adjustment issues or more, Counseling and Psychological Services has many resources available. Students can contact CPS by emailing CPSoutreach@montana.edu. They can also email Thum directly at email@example.com.