Online Mental Health Counselling Available to IGC Students

Online++Mental++Health++Counselling++Available+to+IGC+Students

Insun Choi, Staff Writer

Multi-Complex Building on Incheon Global Campus in Songdo (Credit: Google Image)

On 17th of September, Jan Lee, a counsellor from Incheon Global Campus (IGC), had an open discussion about how to deal with stress on campus. Speaking to a cross section of students at the University of Utah Asia Campus (UAC), Jan said due to COVID-19, online counselling service through Zoom is also available for Fall 2020 Semester. 

On average, 70 to 80 appointments were made in Spring 2020 as COVID-19 pandemic spread across the world.. These appointments included multiple visits by a single person. However, none of the students received counselling service in March due to the intensity of the pandemic in Korea at the time. “At that time, I didn’t provide Zoom counselling sessions, but (I provided online sessions) after we got know this (covid-19) is not a one-month thing which can go few months.”, Jan said.

According to Jan, the number of students who scheduled appointments is about 60 after the online session is offered. In an open discussion, Jan noted that stress is not always bad. “It can be a good thing, as it is a normal reaction in daily life. It exist everywhere.”

The Korean-born counselor highlighted three main stress-coping strategies. These include: one, being calm by engaging in daily meditation or breathing training, and emotional coping by changing the ways of thinking. Instead of thinking negatively, be positive by changing the words. For example, “I only have little”, change into “I still have this much.”

Two, practicing positive visualization about after stressful situations, and writing a journal to recognize the feeling, thoughts and the situation are other ways of coping with the stress. Time management and getting social skills are added for the list.

One last stress coping strategy is trying to talk to professors about what situation has been faced. Jan noticed, “I am not telling you that all the professors will give you an extra excuse for that, but this is a way that you can try. Maybe some of your faculty had the same situation when they were in college, so they can give you some another advice.” People often have vital signs when they are stressed; emotionally, cognitively, and physically. Most people have physical signs, including headache, stomach-ache, breath problem, and sleeping difficulties. Emotional and cognitive signs can be loneliness and panic attacks.

Jan instructed how to make an online meeting to receive counselling service when the students stressed. She introduced a website, http://appointmentwithjan.as.me, which allows the students to make an appointment either Zoom or in-person. The other ways to confirm the appointment with Jan are sending an email or making a phone call.

Jan Lee worked as an IGC counselor from 2017, which makes 2020 is her 4th year of counselling in IGC. Jan’s office is located in Multi-Complex Building on 3rd floor, room 3025. She is an individual counsellor for students from the University of Utah Asia Campus, George Mason University Korea, and Ghent University Global Campus.

According to her, only 7 people came in the spring 2017 semester. Fortunately, the number of students coming have been increased semester by semester.

The top reasons why students receive the mental health counselling service with Jan are troubles in relationship with family, friends, or love, anxiety, and depression. Some of the students visits Jan when they did not separate the effort properly during a semester, so lost the focus on academic works at the middle or end of the semester.

Winter blue is a seasonal reason to meet Jan. Fall to winter season, less outdoor activity, and early sunset effects on humans’ moods badly. She recommended having Vitamin D, and outdoor activities such as walking, and jogging will be helpful for this symptom.

Incheon Global Campus was established in 2012 with the State University of New York Korea (SUNY KOREA), which was the first institute that opened in IGC. George Mason University Korea (GMUK), Ghent University Global Campus (GUGC), and University of Utah Asia Campus (UAC) opened in 2014.

All institutes in IGC are sub-campuses, the main campus of SUNY KOREA, GMUK, and UAC are in the following locations, New York, Virginia, and Utah in the United States and GUGC is located in Ghent, Belgium. The students from one of these campuses require to attend its main campus for a year to graduate.