YSU Student Counseling Services Introduces Anxiety Support Group

By Courtney Hibler

A support group for people who suffer from anxiety has been welcomed by Student Counseling Services at Youngstown State University to help inform students about anxiety and how to manage it.

Anne Lally, assistant director of counseling services, said the support group was her idea and her way of reaching students who would benefit from learning how to appropriately manage anxiety.

“Initially, I developed a workshop to address anxiety,” she said. “I advertised and reserved space in Kilcawley Center, but the workshops weren’t attended.”

She said YSU has not had a great attendance rate in the past with workshops and other universities experience the same issue, as well.

In Lally’s opinion, there is a greater attendance success rate for workshops when targeting audiences that are already scheduled for a meeting such as a class.

“To present this to more students, I started meeting with groups, chairs and deans to gain more traction,” she said. “During the 2018 spring semester, I was able to present to three wellness and two first-year experience classes.”

Lally said students in a class she visited even indicated they were going to go to their sororities and fraternities to request one of the workshops be presented for all members.

During the 2018 fall semester, Lally presented 28 workshops and connected with 572 students.

Samantha Johnson, a senior criminal justice major, said she struggles with anxiety and likes the idea of a support group.

“The group would be beneficial and give students an idea on how to overcome anxiety,” she said. “It will help those affected feel like they’re not alone and allow support through others with the same issue.”

Katie Morrone, a junior integrated language arts major, said she deals with anxiety by filling her head with positive affirmations and reaching out to family and friends.

“A hug from a friend could change the world when anxiety makes your life feel like a hectic mess,” she said. “Making new friends through the support group could be extremely beneficial for those who attend.”

In Morrone’s opinion, those with social anxiety may have a hard time finding the courage or acceptance to attend a support group, and she believes those in charge of the group should create a welcoming environment for students.

Brooke Testa, a sophomore exercise science major, said she doesn’t get anxiety as much as others she knows and doesn’t see herself utilizing the support group.

“College is such a stressful time and someone who may have terrible anxiety, whether it be with classes or at home, can gain so much positivity out of something as small as a support group,” she said. “I know people who may benefit greatly from this.”

Lally said students interested in the group will go through a process to enter the support group and will be limited to 15 people.

The group is confidential, and those who are not interested in the support group are still able to attend individual counseling that is offered.

For more information on the support group, students can email Lally at alally@ysu.edu or call student counseling services at 330-941-3737.