Distance mental health support expands for students as online instruction continues

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falola blessing streamBlessing Falola, M.D.To better support students learning remotely, Student Health Services (SHS) and Student Counseling Services (SCS) have expanded their available mental health offerings. The teams now offer distance-counseling services and clinical case management and have formed a primary-care mental health team with a licensed psychiatrist and psychiatric nurse practitioner for telehealth appointments — all hosted through HIPAA-compliant Zoom. 

By bringing on board psychiatrist Blessing Falola, M.D., UAB is giving students more and better access to affordable mental health care with an integrated approach. Students can book appointments online via their patient portal or by calling SHS at 205-934-3580 or SCS at 205-934-5816; they do not need a referral from a primary care provider.

“We’re excited to grow our services to ensure our students have access to interpersonal, virtual face-to-face help during this time that is affordable and accessible, and by expanding our team to include Dr. Falola, we’re doing just that,” said Angela Stowe, Ph.D., director of Student Counseling Services and Wellness Promotion. “As instruction continues online into the summer, we know students might need help continuing to adjust, and that’s what we’re here for.”

Students can also access Student Counseling Services (SCS) new Resiliency Hub to learn about the four R’s of resiliency — recognize, reframe, reflect and reach out — and listen to Let’s Talk About It, the new podcast from SCS Counselor Herbert Wilkerson, in which he talks with expert guests weekly about the unique mental health concerns of college students. New episodes drop 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays.

Student Counseling Services also provides no-cost access to TAO Self Help, a free web- and app-based online counseling resource for resiliency, stress management, depression, anxiety, mindfulness, recovery support and more. See more resources online at uab.edu/students/counseling.

Want to participate in group mental health exercises instead to ward off the social-distancing blues? Join in on the Mental Health Ambassadors’ (MHA) weekly Zoom events this month, with Mindful Mondays 7:30-8 a.m., Treat Yourself Tuesday with Arts 1-1:30 p.m., Wellness Wednesdays noon-12:30 p.m., Mindful Virtual Yoga Thursdays 11:30 a.m.-noon; the Zoom meeting ID is 440 253 2164, and all events will be recorded and shared on the MHA YouTube channel.

Created by Honors Faculty Fellow Robin Lanzi, Ph.D., professor and director of Academic Programs in the School of Public Health, in partnership with Stowe and UAB senior Juhee Agrawal, president of UAB’s chapter of Active Minds, Honors College students who participate in the ambassadors program learn skills to present information to peers on subjects such as mental health awareness, practical skills for addressing concerns and information on mental health services and activities on campus. Learn more about special programming on the ambassadors’ Instagram and Twitter @UABMHA and on Facebook.

To reach Birmingham’s Crisis Center, call 205-323-7777; the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Text UAB to 741741 to reach crisis counselors with the Crisis Text Line.