Bryant Counseling Services has been an important component in Bryant’s coordinated campus reopening, and thanks to a generous gift from Bonnie and Richard Leto ’73, these vital services were recently expanded and will be available to meet an increased need through the spring semester.
Bryant Counseling Services supports students’ health and well-being by providing confidential counseling services, programing, and outreach, helping students maintain mental health as they develop resilience to stress and setbacks, sustain meaningful relationships, and participate in the extracurricular activities that enrich the Bryant student experience and support academic success.
“During this crisis, I hope others will join us and use the power of philanthropy to support the students who are heroically struggling to manage their mental health challenges and the difficult disruptions that can derail their academic success at a formative time in their young lives.”
The increase in counselling availability comes at a critical time. Recent estimates from the American Mental Health Counselors Association indicate that counseling needs in the U.S. are up by as much as 40 percent. For students at Bryant and at schools throughout the country, the pandemic has intensified many of the issues that some students struggle with—anxiety, depression, and the onset of significant mental health issues—further complicated by increased isolation.
The Letos’ gift allowed Shauna Summers, Ph.D. to join the counseling team to provide counseling services to students two days each week in the fall semester, seeing nearly 20 students at more than 90 appointments—6 to 8 each day through the end of classes in November. Similar numbers are expected in the spring.
An important consequence of the expanded hours, says Noelle C. Harris, PhD, LMHC, RYT, Assistant Dean and Director of Counseling, Religious, and Spiritual Life, was the team’s ability to operate without a waiting list during the COVID fall, when Counseling Services saw a significant increase in utilization.
“If we can’t accommodate vulnerable students at the time when they need to meet with us, they may not return to reschedule their visit and they can slip through the cracks.” said Harris. “The Letos have a deep understanding of the complex challenges that many students are facing right now. They saw a critical emerging need and they reached out to help us address it.”
The recent gift from the Letos reflects their deep and ongoing commitment to Bryant students. In 2017, they established the Bonnie and Richard Leto ’73 Health and Nutrition Education Fund, creating a new initiative to promote healthy eating and help students who are at-risk for eating disorders and those who struggle to maintain a balanced relationship with food. Their generous support for Bryant was recently celebrated at a special meeting of the Board of Trustees where Bonnie and Rick were recognized with Bryant’s 2020 Champions of Philanthropy award.
“During this crisis, I hope others will join us and use the power of philanthropy to support the students who are heroically struggling to manage their mental health challenges and the difficult disruptions that can derail their academic success at a formative time in their young lives,” said Rick about their recent gift.
With the additional clinical hours and other accommodations put in place, Bryant was the only college or university in Rhode Island to offer in-person counseling services throughout the duration of the fall semester. And, as the spring semester begins, the counseling team will be ready to provide additional support. “We are grateful and proud to have partners like Bonnie and Rick Leto,” said Inge-Lise Ameer, Ed.D., Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students. “Their compassion and empathy for Bryant students is matched by their extraordinary vision and generosity.”
To learn more about Bryant Counseling Services, please call 401-232-6045, or send email to the Counseling Center.