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Counseling Services casts help line

Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 02:10

People sometimes make irrational decisions when faced with crisis situations. Student Counseling HelpLine was established in 1995 to help students safely deal with difficult situations.

The HelpLine is a phone service that provides information, referral, support and crisis assessment for students or those concerned with a student’s well-being. HelpLine is staffed by trained volunteers consisting of current, former and graduate students, with supervision from a professional staff.

Susan Vavra, coordinator of HelpLine, said people volunteer for a variety of reasons.

“The most common reason [people] volunteer is the desire to help others,” Vavra said. “Many are looking for counseling experience before going on to graduate work in the counseling field.”

One volunteer, Allie H., said HelpLine is the best way she became involved since coming to A&M.

“I find it incredibly fulfilling to be here for other students,” Allie said. “Through training and my experiences at HelpLine, I have been reassured of my goal of becoming a counselor. I have learned more skills and knowledge applicable to my career and life at HelpLine than in any class I’ve taken.”

A majority of the volunteers are psychology majors but another volunteer, Anthony B., said he encourages people from all majors to get involved with HelpLine.

“I trained to work HelpLine as a former student,” Anthony said. “My degree is not in psychology so I would encourage non-psych majors to apply.”

Though the HelpLine has an emphasis on crisis intervention, it can be used several ways that are beneficial to students. Vavra said HelpLine represents a range of needs, but a majority of the time they cluster around relationship issues, anxiety, depression, academic stress and suicidal thoughts.

“HelpLine often deals with crisis calls but if someone is in immediate danger, 911 is always an appropriate referral in a life-threatening situation,” Varva said. “Callers do not have to have a crisis, though. Many of the calls are of a non-crisis nature.”

The service offered by HelpLine is accessible to all students, including people with speech and hearing disabilities. HelpLine is Teletypewriter friendly, so all students from all backgrounds can receive assistance.

BOX? One, or both..

HelpLine’s next volunteer training session is Jan. 7-12. Visit the HelpLine website for more information. HelpLine’s operating hours are 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. on the weekdays and 24 hours a day on the weekends. If you need to talk, call HelpLine at 979-845-2700.


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