Introducing Counseling Service to New Students as a Treatment for Mental Health

Sexual violence and bullying, especially in the tertiary environment, is a serious concern for the academic community of Universitas Brawijaya, this problem has a considerable impact on changes in the personality and psychological conditions of students if it continuously occurs and is not prevented directly. Prof. Widodo S.Si, M.Si, Ph.D, Med.Sc as the Rector of UB has issued a circular letter which contains a prohibition on violence and preventing acts of sexual harassment when introducing new students. The Rector appealed that all campus academic and student activities at the university, faculty and department/study program levels must be sterilized from acts of bullying/physical and mental violence to sexual violence.

This was also conveyed by the Head of the Subdirectorate of Sexual Bullying & Harassment, Ulifa Rahma S.Psi, M.Si, Psychologist in his presentation on D-2 of PK2MABA activities, Samantha Krida, Tuesday (15/8). Currently UB has a Task Force for the Prevention and Handling of Sexual Violence (PPKS) which oversees and follows up on these problems. All participants in UB’s PK2MABA activities must have awareness of the problem of sexual violence, because cases like this often occur anywhere and anytime, even in an educational environment. Therefore, he advised new students to uphold UB’s student code of ethics as a campus foundation/guideline. In UB, the legal basis regarding sexual violence and bullying is regulated in UB Pertor No.70 of 2020, in this regulation each faculty must have a service unit for the prevention and handling of sexual violence and a counseling center at the university level.

According to him, UB’s counseling service is a facility that accommodates the needs of students when they are experiencing cases, not only sexual violence but also mental health problems (depression, anxiety, lack of confidence, stress and so on). This will at least get professional services from academic assistant lecturers (PA), bearing in mind that what needs to be considered is not only the development of academic abilities but also the health condition of the students. “We provide counseling services to students both offline and online (via zoom/e-mail) and psychoeducation training. Counseling services focus on several parameters, including sexual violence and bullying, personal to social problems, as well as developing talents and interests. In addition, there are also counseling services that are more oriented towards academic issues such as time management conflicts, difficulty following lessons and other lecture obstacles,” she said.

On the other hand, psychoeducation services are training facilities for academic advisor lecturers to provide assistance to students with problems so that later the treatment given is according to directions and is right on target. Psychological first aid training is also part of responsive services to students, where this training builds awareness and empathy for academics in carrying out initial handling of social disturbances in the campus environment. Several programs such as peer counselors, webinar series related to personality development are also presented as broader counseling methods. “We provide various referral practitioners for students who are experiencing difficulties (severe level problems) and need intensive assistance, ranging from counselors, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, legal consultants, medical and psychiatric nurses. Meanwhile, at the faculty level, we are preparing peer counselor coordinators who come from students majoring in psychology,” she added. [UB PR/ Trans. Iir]