In times of stress, SCS is there to help


Students returning to the Radford University campus for the fall semester will find that Student Counseling Services (SCS) offers an abundance of services to help with the complexities and challenges they may experience throughout the academic year.

SCS provides free and confidential mental health services for Radford University students. SCS’s primary purpose is to offer support for typical student development issues and to provide short-term professional counseling to students with general well-being and mental health concerns. Services include initial consultation, individual and group counseling, and couples counseling.

SCS and the Substance Abuse and Violence Education Support (SAVES) offices have expanded support services this fall to aid students who are experiencing difficulties related to the COVID-19 pandemic and cultural disharmony.

“We support the academic mission by providing learning opportunities for students to grow as individuals, to form deeper relationships with their peers and to develop as successful members of our community and society at large,” said SCS Director Brian Lusk.

“We know that our students at Radford, like many of their peers across the county, have experienced heightened levels of stress and anxiety in recent months,” Lusk said. “Nearly all of our lives have been impacted in some way not only by the COVID-19 pandemic, but ongoing struggles with social injustice.”

Current events, Lusk said, are heightening the stress and anxiety students may already wrestle with.

“It is of the utmost importance that students take advantage of the services available to them on campus,” he noted. “The best way to navigate mental and emotional health concerns is to deal with them head-on, in healthy and effective ways. By addressing these problems, students will significantly increase their ability to succeed academically as well as personally.”

Fall 2020 Changes to Counseling Services

Beginning this fall, students will need to pre-schedule all appointments, including initial consultations. Drops-ins will not be permitted unless a student is experiencing a psychiatric crisis, Lusk said.

Initial consultation times are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Students must complete paperwork online to initiate services. If done in a timely manner, an initial consultation may be scheduled the same day. SCS’s goal is for students to be seen within 24 hours of submitting paperwork.

Students must present a valid photo ID, such as the Radford University ONE Card or a driver’s license at the first appointment.

Individual and couples counseling sessions will be scheduled for 45-50 minutes and limited to six sessions per semester. New this year are concise, 25-30-minute sessions, which are limited to 12 each semester.

For group counseling, six different sections of “Understanding You and Others” will be offered at the beginning of the fall semester. Two group sections of psychoeducational will be offered early in the semester, with one focused on depression and the other on anxiety.

Each group will be capped at six students because of physical distancing restrictions.

Tele-Mental Health Sessions

Students may choose either in-person or tele-mental health sessions that occur using Zoom. Tele-sessions are dependent on the students securing a private space and having reliable technology. 

In addition to these services, the SCS Let’s Talk program provides students with access to informal confidential consultations with SCS counselors. Let’s Talk is not a formal counseling session, but rather a drop-in service at various campus locations for students to talk with SCS counselors.

The fall Let’s Talk schedule is:

·       Mondays – 3-5 p.m., Heth 018

·       Tuesdays – 3-5 p.m., Student Recreation and Wellness Center

·       Wednesdays – 3-5 p.m., Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Heth Hall

·       Thursdays – 3-5 p.m., McConnell Library

Upcoming Programming

Also this fall, SAVES will provide education and programming pertaining to substance abuse and violence. A full program list will be offered upon request by faculty/staff or student organizations.

SAVES programming will be available in-person if possible and allowable under physical distancing requirements. Alternatively, the programming will be offered virtually as requested or when in-person delivery is not possible. Students must complete the required paperwork online before scheduling a first appointment.

Available programming can be found online, as well as a request form for programming.

RU Aware is another service offering from SAVES that provides diagnostic and bio-psychosocial assessments, recommendations and referrals, basic alcohol and drug education and risk-reduction and decision-making skills building. Students may choose in-person or tele-counseling sessions via Zoom.

Other SAVES services include Advocacy Services, voluntary counseling related to substance abuse struggles, and Recovery Community, which supports students in substance abuse recovery and their allies.

Reach out and obtain support!

To schedule appointments, contact Student Counseling Services at 540-831-5226. SAVES can be reached at 540-831-5709.

Radford University Carilion (RUC) students seeking counseling services and support should contact the RUC Student Affairs Office at 540-985-8395.

“Student Counseling Services and SAVES are readily available to help students when the need arises. Our staff in both offices value the opportunity to work with and make a positive impact on our Highlander family,” Lusk said. “I strongly encourage our students to be proactive in seeking out our services. By being proactive, students are likely to avoid an intensification in their symptoms, resulting in more enjoyable and productive collegiate experience.”

Aug 11, 2020
Chad Osborne