Bluefield, VA – Mental health and wellness are a priority at Bluefield University, especially during a pandemic. In September 2020, the Bluefield University Center of Counseling and Wellness launched BU Be Well, a weekly wellness activities program, to help students practice daily self-care. The wellness activities vary from educational activities, giveaways, exercise sessions, and more.
“The best thing we can do for our mental health is to be kind to ourselves and give ourselves grace,” said Emily Cook, director of the center for counseling and wellness. “No one signed up for or wanted to be navigating the new normal of a global pandemic. We need to recognize these feelings, identify where they are coming from, allow ourselves to feel them, and then participate in self-care to regulate again.”
Established in the fall of 2019, the Bluefield University Center of Counseling and Wellness enhances the university’s holistic approach to educating the mind, heart, and spirit of students by supporting the mental health needs of the student body. Students can receive therapeutic services from licensed professional counselors without the need for insurance or incurring any out-of-pocket costs. Students can participate in professionally led groups and workshops that provide the life-skills necessary to thrive at Bluefield University and beyond.
The weekly wellness activities have included yoga sessions, online devotions, painting, and more. The Center also offers opportunities for practicum students who are preparing to enter the field of counseling, which according to Cook, “has been great to increase the availability of sessions we can offer to students.”
“The BU Wellness program is just one way Bluefield University shows it cares about all its students,” said student, Alysia Townsley. “I’m thankful for all the work Emily Cook and the Wellness program do to make sure students stay emotionally, mentally, and physically well.”
Emily Cook (’12), director of the center for counseling and wellness, was hired in July 2020. Serving alongside Cook are Connie Elkins and Brandy Smith who are both licensed professional counselors in Virginia and nationally certified counselors through the National Board of Certified Counselors. Elkins and Smith teach courses as faculty members in the School of Education and Social Sciences at Bluefield University.
“The BU Wellness program has played a large part in keeping my friends and me from breaking under the pressure of the world around us and I can’t thank them enough for that,” expressed student-athlete, Antowyne Shaw.
For more information about the Center for Counseling and Wellness and its services, contact director Emily Cook at 276.326.4252 or [email protected].