Letter: Students should make use of ‘Let’s Talk’

Letter to the Editor

There are many barriers preventing students from seeking mental health treatment, such as stigmas and costs. To help minimize those barriers, Multicultural Student Engagement and Student Counseling Services has launched a new initiative called “Let’s Talk.”

“Let’s Talk” is a pilot program that delivers informal drop-in consultations at locations around campus for University of Minnesota students throughout the academic year. No appointment is necessary, so you can drop in during the scheduled times below. “Let’s Talk” is not a substitute for formal counseling and does not constitute mental health treatment, but we can listen to specific problems, provide support, help explore solutions and give information about other campus resources.

We hope that through “Let’s Talk” we will minimize barriers students might face in seeking assistance by holding free services, advocating for undeserved students, promoting inclusion and increasing opportunities while reducing the stigma for students who might never seek counseling. We want the focus to be on outreach and accessibility, with the hope of putting counselors closer to students.

It’s important to note that while we are promoting “Let’s Talk” as a new outreach resource, there are many resources already available on campus. Our intention is to provide a safe space, but that is not automatic. “Let’s Talk” is, therefore, not a replacement for counseling or other resources already available on campus. There are several ways to get mental health support, but it all depends on the individual and what is best for them.

Our goal is to increase support and decrease barriers through an intentional, creative and connected effort. Within six weeks of starting the “Let’s Talk” outreach pilot program, the campus community has given it an unbelievable amount of support. Please visit “Let’s Talk” or refer anyone you deem appropriate this spring at:

Tuesdays: 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. at Appleby Hall, Room 135 with Gina Liddell-Westefeld

Wednesdays: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Appleby Hall, Room 135 with Sylvia Vue

Website: https://counseling.umn.edu/lets-talk

This letter has been lightly edited for clarity and style

Gina Liddell-Westefeld is a counselor in Student Counseling Services, Nina Hernandez Beithon is the diversity liaison counselor in Student Counseling Services and Sylvia Vue is the student life adviser in Multicultural Student Engagement.