Kent State offers clinical mental health counseling program

Madeline Pigott

Mental health issues are constantly increasing and so is the research behind it. Kent State’s mental health counseling program is preparing their master’s and doctorate students to make an impact on their communities in helping people who suffer with mental health.

Lynne Guillot Miller, the master’s program coordinator for the clinical mental health program, said “right now we have a population that is highly depressed and anxious and people have a hard time seeking help. In our fast paced society people want a quick outcome and turn to medications, and although medications are a part of it, counseling can offer a lasting result.”

Miller said external reviewers were brought into the university last year and they viewed it as one of the strongest clinical mental health programs in the country.

The master’s program currently has 120 clinical mental health counseling students. The program requires 60 hours of course-work. However, there is no specific undergraduate area of study required to be accepted into the master’s program. Current student undergraduate backgrounds range from psychology to business.

The mental health counseling program best prepares students to become licensed counselors upon graduation who specialize in mental health diagnosis and treatment in areas such as depression, anxiety, mood disorders, addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder. Students are mainly taught through practical and hands-on methods to expand their knowledge and allow feedback for their counseling skills.

Christina Lloyd is currently working towards her Ph.D. in a counselor education and supervision doctoral program. She has a Master of Arts degree in clinical mental health counseling.

Lloyd said “mental health is just as important as physical and spiritual health and if an individual is struggling with their mental health this could influence their daily interactions (interpersonal relationships, work and school), overall functioning, and life.”

Many psychologists argue that mental health can affect physical health and vice versa.

According to the National Alliance of Mental Health, one in five people suffer from a mental illness, yet many people will not seek help due to the stigma surrounding it.

Lloyd said “the stigma surrounding mental health continues to impact individuals’ level of comfort with seeking mental health services. I believe there are misconceptions about what counselors do. I believe our society is trying to become more accepting of mental illness. I believe that stigma still contributes to some of the labeling that occurs and poor representation of mental health services. I believe ongoing conversation can normalize symptoms and decrease feelings of self-blame or shame. However, when conversations about mental health continue to perpetuate stigma, I think it can negatively impact individuals.”

After receiving her Ph.D., Lloyd plans to continue counseling and working with clients. She would also like to eventually teach at the master’s level and contribute to that process of learning.

Madeline Pigott is Mental Health and Social Services reporter. Contact her at [email protected].