January 12, 2021

Mental health, well-being and support resources

Dear Furman Community,

Learning and engaging in work at Furman is a centerpiece of the lives of our students, faculty and staff. We know that learning and working virtually and minimizing contact with our Furman community because of the pandemic has caused feelings of stress, anxiety and isolation. We are a campus that values relationships and thriving, and as such, we will sustain and enhance our efforts to focus on our community’s mental health and well-being.

We write today to share important updates and new resources. Many of these enhancements are the result of several focus groups, interviews and conversations, as well as surveys conducted last semester in which our students shared their thoughts on burnout, isolation, coping and belonging.

Student resources
Monthly no-class days

In the fall, as we began planning the spring semester calendar, we worked with students to identify four days off during the shortened semester to help lessen the impact of burnout and stress. We’ve added February 18 and March 10 as student holidays. April 2 was already a university holiday.

Mental Health and well-being resources
The Counseling Center team and Student Life have bolstered student mental health support resources for prevention and care. Two new counselors have been hired to replace two vacancies that occurred unexpectedly last August. The Counseling Center utilizes a Stepped Care Model with the goal of empowering students to maximize and manage their own mental health for academic success and well-being, with care options based on students’ needs, readiness and strengths.

The resources listed below are accessible to our students and there are no fees for these confidential services. Details are included on the Counseling Center website. (New initiatives*)

  • Counselors – Five full-time licensed counselors, 1 part-time additional counselor, 2 part-time and contracted psychiatrists, and a new graduate counseling intern*
  • Brief individual counseling (evidenced based, in person and online)
  • Group sessions and workshops (theme-focused and interpersonal)
  • Limited psychiatry (for counseling clients, no fees)
  • Furman University Counseling Center Crisis Line* – Call the Counseling Center at 864-294-3031, press #3 (confidential, available 24/7, effective January 18).
  • Headspace* – SGA and PHOKUS, one of Furman’s peer education groups, have sponsored free membership for students for the Headspace app. It’s a popular, science-backed mindfulness app that helps decrease stress and improve focus and mind-wandering. There are specific meditations for managing stress and anxiety, improving sleep, dealing with distractions and navigating change. Students may enroll using their Furman email here.
  • TAO Connect (Tele Assisted Online)* – Self-help platform (anonymous and confidential, 24/7) sponsored by the Counseling Center and accessible to students, faculty and staff. This replaces WellTrack.
  • Paladin Peer Support* – Coming soon, a student peer mentoring organization focused on wellness and self-efficacy.

Spiritual Life

Academic Support

FAQs regarding the start of the spring semester

  • First week of spring semester FAQs are available here.
  • Delayed return to campus FAQs are available here.

Employee resources

In addition to TAO Connect and support from the Office of Spiritual Life, employees have access to many resources to help cope and learn how to better manage their mental health during these stressful times. Visit this page for a list of these resources. Employees also have access to Health Advocate, which provides health and financial resources.

Please be sure to check the Furman Focused site for regular updates, including details on this week’s town halls for new residential students and returning students and for employees.

We hope that you will take advantage of the above resources and continue to support each other.

Be well.

Sincerely,

Ken Peterson, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Connie Carson, Vice President for Student Life

Co-Chairs, COVID Response Steering Committee