Behavioral Health Center to offer grief support, depression management sessions to students

Marshall’s Behavioral Health Center is sponsoring a grief support group and a managing depression group beginning today as part of the center’s Spring Support Sessions. Each session will take place in Gullickson Hall Suite G01, and the grief support group will last from 5-6 p.m., while the depression session is from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Paula Rymer, professor in the department of social work, thought of the idea for the spring support sessions as a hands-on way to help students in one of her master’s-level classes to gain real experience in their field.

“I didn’t want to say, ‘this is how you run a group; this is how you develop it,’” Rymer said. “We’ve actually said it since they were second-year master’s-level students, and had been working in the field with their practicum, that they should experience how to create and set the treatment plan. They had to do paperwork and develop it on paper, and then we had to promote it. This is entirely class work. It is not meant to replace anything else on campus that’s already established.”

Rymer is administrating the grief and bereavement group, while some social work students are overseeing the depression group. Rymer said the grief session deals with more than just a loss of a loved one, and the depression group includes discussing homesickness as well.

“The grief class is dealing with not just death but loss of relationships,” Rymer said. “In college you get attached to people, and then you lose touch with them, sometimes they go home, they don’t stay, they don’t like it. The other group will cover things like homesickness, feeling sad because maybe some of your friends went to WVU or some of your friends went out of state; dealing with that separation makes you feel sad sometimes, too.

“Spring is a hard time, because we find that some students are trying to figure out if they’re going to come back, if this is really where they want to be. Sometimes it makes them sad, sometimes it creates some depressive feelings and emotions, so we’re going to address those things.”

The bereavement class will last eight weeks, and the depression group will be six weeks. Other Spring Support Sessions have already begun, but Rymer said some of them are still ongoing and accepting new patients.

Marshall’s Behavioral Health Center has only been established for about a month, and Rymer said she hopes it will be open in the summer and available to students, like athletes, who do not always get to go home to see their families during the summer months. She said while it is only open to students right now, one of the center’s goals is to eventually welcome the community as well.

Amanda Larch can be contacted at [email protected]