Let’s Talk: Informal, walk-in counseling services for students, every Tuesday at noon

The Psychological Counseling Center’s popular Let’s Talk service, which allows students to meet with a counselor informally and without an appointment, will resume for the fall 2020 semester beginning today, Sept. 15.

All students are welcome to drop in for an in-person consultation every Tuesday this fall, from 12 – 2 p.m. in the Student Union room 209.

Online video consultations will also be available during these hours. Use this link on Tuesday afternoons to speak virtually with a Let’s Talk counselor.

In-person sessions will take place with strict masking and social distancing regulations in place, in a private space with students and counselors sitting on opposite sites of a long table.

“Let’s Talk is a best practice in higher education counseling, and we have been using it at New Paltz for more than five years,” said Gweneth Lloyd, director of the Psychological Counseling Center. “It allows us to provide impromptu counseling and communication in a walk-in format, where students can just sit down and talk about what’s going on with a counselor whose role is to listen, help problem solve, and provide a referral for additional services if necessary.”

While the pandemic presents some new logistical challenges to hosting Let’s Talk sessions, Lloyd said that these kinds of informal conversations can be very valuable, particularly at a time of heightened stress, anxiety, isolation and grief.

“For many students, this was a summer filled with unanticipated life challenges involving both the COVID-19 pandemic and national and global racial climate unrest,” Lloyd said. “Many are grieving the loss of loved ones to the disease, while additionally, many others are struggling with the effects of racial trauma, stemming from both historical and current deeply embedded systematic racism. We recognize that many feel fatigued, burdened and traumatized by these circumstances.

“We are here to listen, support and respond to you using sensitive, mindful and productive interventions that respect diversity in race, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexuality, religion and ability.”

While the Let’s Talk program is offered once per week, the Psychological Counseling Center staff remains available 24/7 to all students when classes are in session during the academic year.

Students can call the Center at (845) 257-2920 during business hours to schedule a formal appointment with a counselor. Services will be provided by phone or tele-counseling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the event of a mental health emergency, please call (845) 257-2920 during business hours to be connected to a counselor, or call (845) 257-2222 during evening or weekend hours and ask to speak with the Emergency Counselor for Student Consult (ECSC).