Julia Rhea, New Mental Health Counselor for Southwest Tennessee Community College
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May 22, 2017 - “Southwest Tennessee Community College is pleased to announce the hiring of Julia Rhea as its first mental health counselor,” said Dr. Jacqueline Taylor, executive director of Retention & Student Success”. Rhea will work to provide students with mental and behavioral health support to enhance student success. Rhea earned a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree from the University of Memphis, a Bachelor’s in Nutrition and Health Promotion with a minor in Psychology from Mississippi State, and she is currently pursuing her Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) certification. Rhea will report to the Director of Student Development.
Nationally, colleges are becoming more aware of the need for mental health counseling and support services on campus to provide a safe environment and success for all students. Southwest, as a committed participant in the Achieving the Dream network, developed a new Social and Emotional Support Process to include counseling, social services support, mentoring and advocacy, and other services to aid in the holistic success of students. “The mental health counselor position was integral to this new process and is expected to provide a new and much needed paradigm shift towards comprehensive student services at the College,” says Taylor.
Rhea was employed at Youth Villages as a crisis counselor and at The Transformation Center as a mental health counselor prior to coming to Southwest. Rhea’s professional and practicum experience in behavioral, mental health, and crises counseling as well as counseling research serve to offer a relevant background for meeting the needs of Southwest students. Rhea has also provided individual, couples, group, and crisis therapy for students and community, youth and adults.
“By having a full-time Mental Health Counselor on site, our students avoid being stuck on a waiting list for a counselor. While depression and anxiety consistently rank as the most common mental disorders treated at college counseling centers, an often overlooked but equally serious problem is the rising number of students struggling with eating disorders, substance abuse, and self-injury, which is a strength for Rhea,” says Phoenix Worthy, Director of Student Development.
According to Taylor, “Rhea’s hands-on knowledge and understanding of individuals who experience a variety of mental health challenges like ADHD, bipolar disorder, and cognitive disorders are other key reasons we brought her on board. Rhea’s background serves as a strong foundation to support students emotionally and socially at Southwest, which is in line with our Achieving the Dream framework to strategically and intentionally promote increased retention and persistence rates for the students we serve.”
For more information view the on-campus counseling page.