YSU Increases Mental Health Services for Students

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Youngstown State University is increasing the availability of mental health services to students.

YSU, which currently has two full-time counselors on campus, will hire an additional full-time counselor and a part-time counselor. The university is also considering hiring graduate associates and contracting with a private care provider for additional services.

“The persistence and scope of this deadly disease has caused much stress and anxiety and taken a terrible toll on the mental health of so many across the nation and the world, including college students whose lives both on and off campus have been greatly altered by the pandemic,” said Ann Jaronski, YSU’s director of student counseling services, in a statement. “These additional mental health resources will help our students weather the storm and give them an opportunity to persevere academically and personally during these challenging times.”

Youngstown State also plans on providing more self-help and prevention options, such as yoga classes with psycho-education components, wellness bags, mobile stress carts and educational programming. The university will also explore telehealth options and applications for students to help them deal with stress, depression, burnout and other pressures.

The services will be paid for via funding the university received through the Cares Act. 

“We know that an anxious or a stressed brain does not learn well,” Jaronski said. “During the pandemic, our students have been more anxious and more stressed. These additional CARES funds targeted for mental health are so necessary for us to help address our students mental health needs and allow them to be better learners and therefore more successful.”

Joy Polkabla Byers, executive director of campus recreation and student well-being, said the plan to increase mental health services on campus was guided by a team of students, faculty and staff. The group will continue to gather feedback, assess needs and implement programs to meet the mental health needs of the YSU community.

“The holiday and post-holiday seasons are a particularly critical time as our students leave campus and go home for the holidays,” she said. “It is not only imperative that they remain diligent in following safe COVID-19 protocols while away from campus, it is equally important that they take care of their mental health, returning healthy and well for the spring semester in January.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.