Mental Health Matters

Resources for students to utilize to maintain a balanced mental health

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Mental Health Matters

The Counseling Center, located in Downs Hall, Room 127 is a resource students can use to seek guidance.

Shannon Sheehan, Staff Writer

College can be a considerably stressful time for students. Many feel overwhelmed by their classes, work, financial responsibilities, social standing, and many other aspects of life. Kean University is dedicated to making sure the well-being of students is always a top priority. 

The Counseling Center is a great resource on campus for students to utilize to maintain good mental health and lead a balanced, healthy life. These services are offered to all Kean University students at no additional cost.  

The Counseling Center offers two types of counseling: individual and group, both of which are led by a trained clinician. In the initial consultation, the counselor and patient will have a discussion followed by an assessment by the counselor. They will use this in order to determine how to best meet the students' needs. 

The individual sessions allow one to identify goals and how to reach them in a healthy manner. The counselor will aid the patient in making necessary life changes in order to become an overall healthier individual. The group sessions aim to achieve the same, except the group members allow supportive feedback and a peer perspective of one's situation. 

It is important to know that all records kept in the Counseling Center are private. Some exceptions and limits will be explained to the student prior to them sharing any information with the counselor. These will be shown to the student in writing to ensure that there is no miscommunication.

In some cases, students may want to refer their peers to the Counseling Center. This may be the case if someone notices a change of emotional state, strange or bizarre behavior, a decline in personal hygiene, talk of suicide or wanting to harm themselves or others, or any additional signs of one’s peer being in need of help. 

Students may not always be eager to visit the Counseling Center on their own. Vincent Kiefner, Ph. D., the director of the Counseling, Disability, Alcohol and Other Drug Services Program recommends these five ways to help a friend in distress:

1) Simply ask the person what you can do for them. 

2) Be nonjudgemental and accepting in your approach.

3) Be calm, compassionate, and willing to listen. 

4) Do not promise to keep a secret that may endanger a life. 

5) Make a referral to the Counseling Center. 

"We want to assure those students that we do our best to make their visit with us a positive one. I think that starts with having an enthusiastic and diverse group of counselors on staff. All of our counselors have a wealth of experience working with college students," Dr. Kiefner said. "This is important because college students grapple with specific issues such as anxiety, depression, stress, academic demands, living away from home for the first time, commuting to college, and working one or more jobs while also attending classes."

He continued, "I think if a student gives us a chance and schedules an appointment with Kean Counseling Center, they will find it a rewarding experience. In fact, it may be one of the best decisions they make for their own well-being."

For referring more serious cases, the counseling center recommends a few options. Firstly, if the subject is a resident on campus, notify the Resident Assistant (RA) or the Resident Hall Director (RHD). One can also contact a faculty or staff member who knows the student and notify them of the situation. Additionally, one can reach out to the Counseling Center at (908) 737-4850 and inform them of the issue. The Counseling Center will then contact the student directly. Lastly, the Kean University Police Department is always an option as it is open 24 hours and is always willing to aid students. They can be reached at (908) 737-4800.

The Counseling Center also offers Wellness Workshops for students. These workshops aim to promote balance in one’s life in order to achieve their maximum potential. They focus on balancing one’s “Wellness Wheel” including the following "8 Dimensions of Wellness": emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual wellness. By being able to balance these aspects of life, one will become a much healthier individual. 

The Wellness Wheel

The Counseling Center's "Wellness Wheel," which promotes a healthy balance in one' life.

The Wellness Workshops focus on one or more of the "8 Dimensions of Wellness." The Counseling Center is looking to team up with student groups and organizations for the Wellness Workshops. If one believes that their organization would be positively impacted by the advice from the Wellness Workshops, feel free to reach out to the Counseling Center. Additionally, the schedule will be posted on their website when it is ready.  

The Counseling Center is located in Downs Hall, Room 127, and can be reached at (908) 737-4850. Their hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the fall, winter and spring, and 8:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during campus summer hours. 

For any questions regarding the Wellness Workshops or the Counseling Center as a whole, one can contact Vincent Kiefner, Ph. D., the director of the Counseling, Disability, Alcohol and Other Drug Services Program via his email, To book an appointment, either visit the Counseling Center in person or contact them via phone. 

about the author
Sheehan Shannon - web

Shannon Sheehan, Staff Writer

Shannon Sheeehan is a Junior Communications major with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Marketing. She joined The Cougar's Byte staff in Spring 2018. After her time at Kean, Shannon hopes to start her professional career in Public Relations and/or Social Media.