Unlike most MU buildings, Parker Hall welcomes students to grow their minds in a different way. Nadia Bethley is a therapist at the MU Counseling Center in Parker Hall, and she devotes her time to helping students with mental health. While each day looks different, Bethley’s work falls into three main types of routines: clinical work, team days and outreach.
In addition to seeing two to five patients a day, Bethley leads several group therapy sessions. “I co-lead and supervise Mind Over Mood, a group to teach good skills for anxiety and depression,” she says. She also leads The People of Color Support Group.
While her clinical work has a rhythm, “team days” are her “on call” days. “If we have a consultation, or if a parent or student calls, or if someone calls in crisis mode, we handle that on team days,” she explains. “Anything and everything unexpected is what we deal with.”
For her outreach work, Bethley spends time in the broader community giving presentations on topics such as suicide prevention and crisis management. Another presentation about dealing with the effects of racism is also being developed.
However, despite the benefits counseling services could provide in dealing with racial tensions, Bethley says many students are afraid to walk into her office. “There definitely is a stigma about seeking help for mental health,” she says. “Once people realize that getting help isn’t a weakness, they realize it’s a strength, and that makes it easier.”
Bethley also says the perception of therapy isn’t always accurate. “People have to do the work and do stuff outside the session,” she says. “The whole population needs to realize you don’t come to therapy and dump your problems for 50 minutes; you have to do work outside.”
Another part of Bethley's mission to de-stigmatize counseling is simply promoting the existence of the MU Counseling Center. “Our main goal for outreach is getting messages out there about how to be healthy and how to cope with stress,” she says. “The other piece is letting students and the campus know we’re here. I think students are learning more about our services and that we exist.”