Courtesy of ifyourereadingthis
The University Counseling Center (UCC) has hired two new counselors — Katie Whitley and Brittney Lowery — making the UCC fully staffed for the first time since 2019.
Over the past couple of years, the UCC has had multiple instances in which they were not able to replace counselors cycling out of their system in a pace consistent with student demand for services.
According to a Nov. 2021 statement made by UCC Director Dr. Warrenetta Mann in the Old Gold & Black, around 40% of students were experiencing general instances of anxiety and depression. At this same time, the UCC was operating with only seven to nine providers.
In October 2021, the UCC changed to a short-term, goal-based therapeutic approach — referring students to off-campus services when deemed most appropriate. The UCC returned to its normal therapeutic approach at the beginning of the spring 2022 semester. The increase of full-time staff is expected to aid in mental health education and services, achieving what the UCC is there for — catching mental health concerns early.
“We [the UCC] are truly excited to be starting this new academic year in a great place as we welcome all of our students to campus,” Mann said. “Each of our new staff members contributes a unique skill set and strength to our team, and we have been focusing on leveraging those unique strengths for the benefit of our campus community.”
Whitley began working with the UCC in July 2022. She has had previous experience in counseling college students and is coming to Wake Forest after holding a position in the counseling center at Appalachian State University. She has a special interest in working with students who are working to recover from traumatic experiences.
Lowery will begin as a counselor in the UCC in September 2022. She has worked in outpatient and inpatient settings, particularly with clients experiencing mental health crises.
While staffing issues at the UCC proved to be a major point of student concern this past year, the UCC feels confident that these new members of our community will alleviate this issue. However, the stress of understaffing was not the sole factor in the UCC’s decision to welcome the large number of new faculty members.
“We were intentional about maintaining high professional standards, and not responding to the pressure to just fill slots,” Mann said. “We believe that the UCC staff is well positioned to provide the kind of support that Wake Forest students can really benefit from.”
In fulfilling these standards, the new hires have already been active on campus in multiple ways.
“Our new staff have been great additions and have already started taking clients, participating in outreach and co-facilitating group therapy classes,” Charlotte Brown, a UCC administrative assistant, said.
Tiffany Longjohn, Clinical Case Manager for the UCC, wants students to remember that the UCC is available for everyone who wishes to use it.
“My hope is that all folks in our community know that we continue to be a well-being resource for students,” she said. “I also hope that students reorient themselves to the UCC’s resources including on-campus support and additional resources via the telehealth platform.”
“We want our students to have confidence that we are here to support them as they return to campus,” Mann said. “We [will] continue to work closely with other campus offices to ensure students have the support they need to be successful.”
If you need support, reach out to the UCC at 336-758-5273 at any time for crisis assistance or during business hours to schedule an appointment. You can also log in to the TimelyCare platform at timelycare.com/wakeforest — this space provides 24/7 crisis support, as well as scheduled counseling.
For immediate assistance in a mental health crisis, call 911. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline can be called at 988 or +1 800- 273-8255. The Crisis Text Line can be contacted by texting HOME to 741-741.