Fostering a Community of Care
The Center believes in a community approach to wellness. We strive to promote the educational success of students by supporting their intellectual, emotional, and social development through the provision of culturally aware clinical services.
We are committed to regularly engaging the campus community in support of student emotional wellness and consistently seek ways to expand this outreach. For instance, in 2020, our staff members become certified as suicide prevention training instructors and will train faculty and staff this year to strengthen the competency of community members in suicide prevention. We also offer outreach programming based on community needs and work with our Wellness Partners to support student wellness.
Access to Mental Health Services
The Center provides a variety of mental health services to the campus community, including short-term psychotherapy, crisis intervention, group counseling, outreach and consultation, and referral resources. We provide intervention and prevention services, both within and outside the Center.
We constantly evaluate best practices and changing community needs with the goal of ensuring and expanding accessibility. In October 2019, we added services with ProtoCall, which provides after-hours urgent care clinician access by phone to our students. We have consistently reduced wait times over the past two academic years, and also added a clinical case manager to our staff to assist students in accessing off-campus therapy when desired or recommended. Access involves many factors, including providing quality care and diversity and inclusion; all of our commitments are part of our commitment to access.
Diversity and Inclusion
The Counseling Center staff is committed to creating a welcoming and affirming space where all members of the American University community are valued and celebrated. We are a multicultural and multi-theoretical staff who deeply value our global and diverse community. Our social justice approach includes taking a stand against discrimination and oppression in any form. Since we recognize that not all diversity is universally valued, we feel a special obligation as a mental health agency to provide an inclusive and supportive environment for all our students.
We value cultural competence and have consistently sought clinicians who share the diversity of our student body; offer group therapy options to address issues specifically relevant to students of color, LGBTQ+ students and others; and engage with our Wellness Partners and others across campus in mental health outreach geared to diverse concerns.
Other Support Units On Campus
Wellness has many facets. The Counseling Center is one of several AU units that play key roles in supporting the emotional, academic and social wellbeing of students. Depending on your personal concerns, you may find it helpful to connect with some of these other units as well:
- Student Health Center – provides basic medical treatment, including psychiatric medication, which must be prescribed by a medical doctor. Confidential resource.
- Health Promotion and Advocacy Center – educates, empowers and engages students through health programming, wellness consultations, victim advocacy services (OASIS), and student-centered initiatives. Confidential resource.
- OASIS: Office of Advocacy Services for Interpersonal and Sexual Violence – provides free and confidential services to students affected by sexual violence, interpersonal violence and stalking. Confidential resource.
- Academic Support and Access Center – supports access for individuals with disabilities (including accommodations) and promotes success for all students with academic support services, including tutoring, academic coaching, and supplemental instruction
- Recreational Sports and Fitness – supports physical and emotional wellness through the fitness centers on campus (Jacobs and Cassell), group classes, swimming pool (Reeves Aquatic Center) extracurricular clubs, and more
- Clergy at Kay Spiritual Life Center – in addition to the support that many people find in spiritual practices, the ordained clergy at Kay Spiritual Life Center are confidential resources for informal counseling
- Dean of Students – helps with personal difficulties that affect academic success, including hospitalization, injury, extended illness, family problems, and mental health concerns.
One good way to find out about new offerings, activities, and other updates related to the Counseling Center and our Wellness Partners is to follow us on social media. These accounts aren’t designed for consultation and aren’t a comprehensive listing of what’s offered, but they can let you know about events to consider attending, new therapy groups during the semester, informative resources that could be useful, videos of interest, and more.
Health Promotion and Advocacy Center