The Center for Cadet Counseling offers free, confidential, individual counseling to help cadets address personal and interpersonal concerns or stressors. Our approach is collaborative, developmental, and strengths-based which means that we know cadets possess a variety of strengths, resources, and abilities when they arrive for assistance. Our goal is to help cadets capitalize on these strengths by developing new skills and insight to better navigate concerns in the future.
All counseling services are confidential which means that information cannot be shared with others without your written permission. There are legal exceptions to confidentiality which will be reviewed with you prior to receiving services (see Confidentiality and Privacy).
Counseling sessions are scheduled for approximately 45 minutes. During appointments, cadets work collaboratively with his or her counselor to identify and address primary concerns.
Counseling may help if you:
- Feel unhappy or hopeless
- Worry excessively or feel on edge
- Have difficulty concentrating on schoolwork or other extracurricular activities
- Experience changes in your appetite (weight gain or loss of appetite)
- Have difficulty sleeping or falling asleep
- Experience a loss of a loved one or traumatic breakup
- Notice an increase in your alcohol, tobacco, or other drug use
- Feel overwhelmed and find the demands of VMI to be unbearable
- You have thoughts of harming yourself or others
Staff at the Center for Cadet Counseling (CCC) are available for consultations with parents, faculty, staff, and cadets. During consultations, a counselor will explore your concerns, either in person or over the phone, and help you develop strategies to effectively manage or address your concerns. If the circumstances warrant, we can help you get connected with additional resources, either at the CCC or in the community.
If you are concerned about a member of the VMI community and wish to consult with the CCC, please contact us 540-464-7667.
Counselors are not typically the first point of contact when a cadet experiences problems. Cadets regularly interact with friends, academic advisors, faculty, and family members and they will naturally confide in those closest to them when they are having difficulties. As a result, these individuals are in an excellent position to provide information and assistance to cadets in distress, and also to refer cadets to professional counseling when they appear to have more serious concerns.
Faculty might find this resource helpful: "Recognizing Students in Distress Faculty Handbook".
Virginia health insurance plans offer behavioral health services to employees through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). VMI employees may receive up to four, free counseling sessions with a behavioral health provider approved through Anthem.
Before receiving services, you must receive prior authorization through the EAP program. The EAP specialist will assess your concerns and arrange for a community referral.
For more information, contact Anthem Behavioral Health/EAP at 1-855-223-9277.
Limited psychological testing is available to help counselors develop a comprehensive understanding of your concerns. All testing is done in collaboration with cadets to help you develop insight and enhance existing coping strategies.
The CCC provides substance abuse assessment and education for the Corp of cadets. Each assessment is individualized and based on cadet’s needs.
VMI has a strict zero-tolerance policy regarding alcohol. Cadet's who receive a penalty for alcohol use are required to meet with a counselor for education and assessment.
FREE ONLINE ASSESSMENT
The CCC offers online self-assessments that are free and anonymous; please contact our office, 540-464-7667, to schedule an appointment. These assessments are not diagnostic tools and should be used to help assess the presence and severity of symptoms.
VMI'S ALCOHOL AND DRUG TRAINING:
The Institute Alcohol and Other Drug Committee annually disseminates information to the Corp of Cadets, faculty, and staff in regards to substance use and abuse. The notification includes the following: standards of conduct, possible legal sanctions, and penalties, health risks associated with AOD abuse, AOD programs available to Cadets, staff, and faculty, and disciplinary sanctions for violations of the standards of conduct.
Medical Leaves and Medical Furloughs are coordinated through the VMI Health Center. A Medical Leave or Medical Furlough is recommended when a cadet's health or mental health condition significantly impairs his or her own ability to function successfully or safely as a cadet.
It is expected that the time a cadet takes away from VMI is used for treatment and recovery. The VMI Health Center provides each cadet with specific expectations for treatment while on leave or furlough.
Questions about medical leave and medical furlough should be directed to the VMI Health Center, 540-464-7218..
The Center for Cadet Counseling will refer for psychiatric services as needed. Often, this includes a referral to a local psychiatrist; however, we can help you connect with psychiatric providers outside of the Lexington community as well. Cadets who are interested in receiving psychiatric services exclusively will be provided with referral information.
To augment the demands of VMI training, the CCC provides education and skill-building regarding performance enhancement. Performance enhancement aims to teach the mental skills necessary for successful performance in athletics, the military, and the classroom. Performance enhancement skills include topics such as goal setting, anxiety regulation, concentration, and use of imagery to enhance the mind-body connection and help cadets perform at their best. Additionally, cadets can utilize HeartMath’s emWave™ Pro computerized biofeedback system to assess heart rhythm coherence. Through the use of this biofeedback training, cadets learn to self-generate states of sustained positive emotions and increased physiological coherence, thereby reducing stress and improving health, emotional well-being and performance.
To learn more about performance enhancement skills or the HeartMath’s emWave™ Pro Biofeedback system, contact the CCC to schedule a meeting.
During your time at VMI, a cadet will face demanding schedules, new roles and responsibilities, and one of the most unique and challenging first-year experiences. During a cadetship there will be challenges, adversity, and struggles, however, the time is marked also by mental and physical growth. To buffer the adversity and struggles we recommended enhancing resilience protective factors. The staff at the CCC have compiled 4 skill sets to help cadets thrive at VMI through enhancing resiliency skills that will help cadets bounce back quicker after facing adversity and challenges.
The four skill sets are:
- Psychological Flexibility
- Emotion Regulation
- Connectedness on and off Post
- Strengthening Cognitive Fitness
To schedule an appointment to learn how to enhance your resilience protective factors contact the CCC to schedule an appointment.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR CADETS
VMI invites you to the anonymous online screening module for mood disorders, alcohol, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States.
Resources are available for VMI cadets on important topics related to well-being and mental health. [requires VMI log-in credentials]
VMI cadets have FREE access to virtual care services with TimelyCare — the virtual health and well-being platform designed for university students.