Let's Talk Mental Health GA

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This campaign ended on March 12, 2022, but you can still make a gift to University of Northern Iowa by clicking here!
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About

About the Let's Talk Program at UNI

The Let's Talk program through the UNI Counseling Center started in August 2021. The program provides peer mental health support to students in various locations on campus. Students may anonymously stop by a Let's Talk station to talk with a peer who is a graduate assistant in training to become a mental health therapist. Students may talk about life problems, stressors, concerns and learn about resources available on campus for support and guidance.

The graduate assistant will listen closely to students' concerns and provide support, perspective and suggestions for resources. Students who need the care and support of a full-time therapist will be referred by the graduate assistant to a licensed therapist in the UNI Counseling Center.

Mental Health at UNI

The Counseling Center is staffed with seven full-time mental health professionals, and is accredited by the International Accreditation of Counseling Services. The Counseling Center staff are experienced, licensed professionals who specialize in a broad range of mental health and crisis intervention approaches. The Let’s Talk graduate assistant supports the staff by providing care to students’ stress, anxiety, and adjustment issues so the full-time staff can care for students who need the support of a licensed professional. In the fall semester, the Let's Talk program supported 42 students and anticipates that number will increase this spring as awareness of the initiative increases. The Let’s Talk program continues to show it’s value on our students’ well-being. 

The Let’s Talk graduate assistant will assure the continued growth and success of this program, and will facilitate outreach to the campus community so faculty and staff are aware of and promote this resource to students.

Why support? 

Mental health needs are on the rise in colleges and universities across the United States. UNI is working to become a leader in the integrated and holistic mental health care for our students.  As a result, UNI is working to make the Let’s Talk program a permanent and successful fixture for students. 

By funding this project, the Counseling Center will be able to provide more support for students' mental health needs while providing relevant professional experience to the graduate assistant that can be applied toward their licensure as a professional practitioner.

Mental Health and the Pandemic

The Counseling Center and college counseling centers across the country are experiencing two problems in the COVID-19 pandemic era.

  • Severity - students are experiencing more severe mental help problems and suicidal risk (suicide is the number two cause of death for college-aged students)
  • Volume - there are more students seeking services than ever before In a recent study of college counseling centers across the country, 60% are using a waitlist.

A survey conducted this fall of college counseling centers revealed 60% were using a waitlist. The UNI Counseling Center saw a record number of students during the fall 2021 semester and the center had to start their waitlist on November 5 and within a couple of weeks had 54 students on that list. The Counseling Center has referred students to Cedar Valley clinics who were accepting new patients and those students on the waitlist were offered appointments for when the semester started back up on January 20.

A recent report published by Dr. Vivek H. Murthy cited a significant increase in emergency room visits for suicide attempts among young people. In the U.S., emergency room visits for suicide attempts rose 51% for adolescent girls in early 2021 as compared to the same period in 2019. The figure rose 4% for boys.

According to The Healthy Minds Study, Fall 202 Data Report, 77% of college student acknowledged currently needing help for emotional or mental health problems such as feeling sad, blue, anxious, or nervous.

According to the Jed Foundation Survey of College Student Mental Health in 2020, 63% of students said their emotional health is worse than before the COVID-19 pandemic and 56% are significantly concerned with their ability to care for their mental health.

Why a student should visit Let's Talk?

The service is open to all UNI undergraduate and graduate students. Let's Talk is the best fit for students in the following situations: 

  • Students who are not sure about counseling and wonder what it's like to talk with a counselor
  • Students who are not interested in ongoing counseling but would like the perspective of someone else
  • Students who have a specific problem and would like someone with whom to talk it through
  • Students who have a concern about a friend and want some thoughts about what to do

Peer Mental Health Support Members for Spring 2022




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