The Behavioral Health Center Storrs (BHCS) is offering free group grief counseling sessions to any members of the University of Connecticut and Mansfield community, Andrew Toce, senior director of the outpatient clinic, said.
After the news of the passing of two UConn students, Justin Niezrecki and Tianyin Shang, BHCS wanted to create an outlet where anyone could have a safe place to talk with mental health professionals, Toce said.
“[We want] the awareness that we are always here for the UConn community and Mansfield,” Toce said. “[We] want to help and be a helping hand no matter what the cause is.”
The grief counseling, which is run by BHCS staff, allows attendees to voice any thoughts and emotions they are feeling, Toce said. Staff members will provide support and advice throughout the session.
“It allows people to come together and recognize the feelings that they aren’t alone,” Toce said. “The more you have, the more people can relate together … We can all learn from one other and how people handle things differently.”
The next group session is Thursday, Feb. 6 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 1244 Storrs Road. The previous session had four patients, Toce said. He said he expects there will be more at the following sessions.
“[In the first session, they] discussed how people were dealing with the news of the passing of their peers and if it brought up any trauma and a lot of self-care techniques,” Toce said.
The original plan was to only have two group sessions. In light of Cole Montefusco’s death on Feb. 1, Toce said they plan to extend the group counseling to the end of February. Dates are not official at the time of reporting.
“We send our condolences to those we lost, and we are here for the support of those who are grieving as well,” Toce said.
For more information about Behavioral Health Center Storrs, call 860-420-2450.
The Mental Health Office at Student Health and Wellness is located on the fourth floor of Arjona (337 Mansfield Road, Storrs, CT 06269) and is open during normal business hours Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After hours, weekends and holidays, call 860-486-4705 and stay on the line.
The Dean of Students office on the second floor of the Wilbur Cross Building (233 Glenbrook Road, Storrs, CT 06269) is also available to assist students in need. You can make an appointment by calling 860-486-3426 or stop in Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
24/7 Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Rachel Philipson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.