Several Resources Available on Campus, in Community For Those in Need of Support

After the passing of a campus member, The University of Akron wants students to know that there are resources available dedicated to helping alleviate stress, depression and more.


Megan Parker

The Counseling & Testing Center and ZipAssist are based in Simmons Hall on campus.

By Megan Parker, Editor-in-Chief

All members of The Buchtelite would like to offer their condolences to the friends and family of the student and fellow Zip we all lost too soon.

In light of this tragedy, The Buchtelite would like to remind members of the community that they do not have to face struggles in life alone.

If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, big or small, do not hesitate to seek out that assistance. It is never wrong to admit you need help with something at any point in time.

Together, we can overcome hardships and celebrate our accomplishments in life.

On Sept. 19, 2019, The University of Akron sent out an email through Zipmail to inform the campus community that a member of UA had passed that same morning, with no foul play suspected.

Only four weeks into the semester, the campus member who took his own life had only been a first-year student.

Mike Strong, Dean of Students and the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for students, said although not all students may have personally known the campus member, everyone at the University can be impacted by the loss of a fellow Zip.

“From that loss, I hope we can find comfort in the care and support that we provide for each other,” Strong said.

Megan Parker
Located across from Olin, near East Buchtel Avenue, this marble memorial remembers all the students from The University of Akron who have passed.

Now, UA is raising awareness toward the resources both on and off campus for those struggling with stress, mental health issues or other problems, as well as those grieving the loss of a fellow student.

“We have many programs, resources and supportive professionals available to help you deal with this news or any other issues in your life,” the Zipmail announcement said.

If a student or campus member is in need of immediate help, there are a couple of options available while either on or off campus that Strong recommends to keep in mind.

“Our students tell us that these days, sometimes it’s just easier to text than to have a phone conversation. We respect that,” Strong said. “So there’s that crisis text line.”

For the crisis text line, campus members simply text “4Hope” to 741741. By texting “4Hope” to that number, it alerts the crisis center that you are located in northeast Ohio.

In addition to the text line, there is also the toll free National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-8255. Open 24-hours a day, the national hotline is the best way for any person to receive help.

“If you need help and you write that telephone number down or put it in your phone, you don’t have to remember different telephone numbers for when you are in different cities,” Strong said.

On campus alone, the resources available to students include the
Counseling & Testing Center, the Help-a-Zip referral program and the Crisis, Assessment, Referral and Evaluation (CARE) Team.

Located in room 306 on the third floor of Simmons Hall, the Counseling & Testing Center is a resource that gives students access to counselors for assistance with personal, career and/or educational matters.

When first accessing the counseling services, students can either make an appointment by calling 330-972-7082 or by stopping in during the walk-in times with a valid Zipcard.

According to the Counseling & Testing Center website, walk-in times are 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily, except Thursdays. Walk-in hours on Thursdays are from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Strong believes students should take advantage of this free and confidential service as several students benefit greatly from this resource on campus.

“The students who I get a chance to work with often tell me about the positive experiences they’ve had and how that service is a great benefit to them,” Strong said.

But the center offers more than just one-on-one appointments between students and counselors.

In addition to their
College Survival Kit, which is updated each semester, the center also hosts group counseling sessions on a variety of topics ranging from anxiety to overcoming homesickness as a college student.

Alison Doehring, Director of ZipAssist, works closely with the center as they are a large resource given to students and hopes more campus members will take advantage of all the services they offer.

Next, available through the Division of Student Affairs, is the CARE Team. This program is a referral program meant for students and campus members in need of immediate assistance.

Strong said the CARE Team is comprised of a group of administrators on campus dedicated to making sure students who express an immediate need for help are connected with the right resources and services.

However, Doehring encourages students and campus members to first contact the
University of Akron Police Department at 330-972-2911 if there is an immediate threat of harm to oneself or others.

Lastly, one of the several campus resources available through ZipAssist is the Help-a-Zip referral program.

This program is an early alert program that ZipAssist runs in order to help students with mild crises before they turn into major issues or lead to larger hardships down the road.

(Image via The University of Akron)
Former Interim President John Green spoke during the 2019 UA Remembrance Day in the remembrance garden with the recently dedicated memorial for those “Forever a Zip.”

Taylor Sminchak, Coordinator of Outreach for ZipAssist, said that either a student can use the referral form to let the office know of a personal issue or another student can make a referral on behalf of a friend or peer.

“If they have financial concerns, or if they are struggling personally or academically, they can briefly let us know what’s going on and a member of our team will reach out to them,” Sminchak said.

Sometimes, students may not find it easy to ask for help or to talk with a stranger about issues going on in their personal life.

Nonetheless, Doehring wants students to know that the main goal of ZipAssist is to connect them with resources and services to dedicated to getting them throughout college with as little stress as possible.

“We want to see them persist but we also just want them to be healthy, happy and balanced human beings,” Doehring said. “So any way that we can help them here at the University or in the community, that’s really our goal.”