New Paltz is often credited for being a more welcoming and open environment than others when it comes to the LGBTQIA+ community. Although there are always ways to improve, SUNY New Paltz provides a varied selection of resources available to LGBTQIA+ students in order to help with any and all issues.
On Wednesday, Dec. 5, the Psychological Counseling Center (PCC), LGBTQ Coordinator and Title IX Coordinator Emma Morcone and OASIS/HAVEN hosted a casual discussion to inform students about mental health resources available to them and targeted towards them as part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Realizing that it is often difficult for students to find help with their mental health in regards to being in the LGBTQIA+ community, the PCC and OASIS/HAVEN share the common goal of wanting to promote inclusivity and have students feel more comfortable seeking out mental health services on campus.
The hour long meeting consisted of sitting in a circle, to demonstrate that inclusive attitude. Among the speakers were Morcone, Senior Counselor and LGBTQIA+ Liaison at the PCC Lauren Spencer, Senior Counselor Joel Oppenheimer, Vice President of Student Affairs Stephanie Blaisedell and Director of the PCC Dr. Gweneth Lloyd. Additionally, student representatives of OASIS/HAVEN were in attendance.
The speakers started by introducing themselves by their pronouns, a little bit about themselves and what they do at their individual facilities on campus. Morcone initiated the discussion and introduced the others. As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community herself, she emphasized the importance of neutral language, not assuming peoples’ genders and pronouns and making the environment as welcoming as possible for when she meets with students. As Morcone put it, her office is “super queer.”
Spencer was next to talk on the list and represent the PCC. She talked about the how the PCC offers a one to eight session, one-on-one program with students, depending on how long they feel they need it. Things they talk about include how to combat difficulty with bullying, harassment, lack of understanding, misgendering and discussion with family or older friends. If a student needs more than eight sessions, they help them connect with therapists off campus who can provide more open-ended help.
The PCC is always open to those in need. There are three types of services it deals with, which are individual, referral and emergency. The PCC works with the UPD in order to make sure students get the help they need.
Spencer also talked about the program she is running called “All of Me.” It is a closed group that students have to join in the beginning of each semester if they are interested, because the focus for the rest of the semester is to form trust, get closer and get to know each other.
OASIS/HAVEN, on the other hand, is a peer confidential support group. Although they do encourage getting outside help, students have the opportunity to speak with other students of their age and similar backgrounds at OASIS. HAVEN is unique to dealing with uncomfortable sexual experiences.
Whether you are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community or not, being informed of the resources on campus can be crucial to friends and loved ones. There are brochures with contact numbers in each facility.
OASIS, 845-257-4945, and HAVEN, 845-257-4930, are both located in Deyo Hall G13C, open from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. The PCC, 845-257-2920, is in the Student Health Center and Counseling Center building, open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.