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Student Social Counsellor helps students by discussing topics that concern them

Laurea’s well-being services support students in coping with everyday life with multidisciplinary services. Student Social Counsellor Leena Kuosmanen supports students’ well-being with her own example.

Speaking out makes things easier is the motto of Student Social Counsellor Leena Kuosmanen. She encourages students to contact the professionals in Laurea’s student well-being team without hesitation. A small amount of support can have a big impact on your well-being.

The well-being team offers free support services to Laurea’s students at a low threshold. In addition to the student social counsellor, the student well-being team includes counselling psychologists, career services, university chaplains and special needs teachers.

The student social counsellor offers discussion support for students and participates in various study units that support well-being. You can see the social counsellor, for example, if you are nervous about starting your studies, need tips for time management or need help with learning difficulties. Leena emphasises how students can contact anyone in the well-being team. If necessary, the team members refer the student to the right professional. The student well-being team reacts quickly to contacts. No one will be left without help.

Individual counselling and peer groups to help students

The student social counsellor also guides with her own example. During counselling sessions, Leena may go for walks or even visit an art museum with the students. The activities support the students’ physical, mental and social well-being. In addition to personal counselling, Leena organises peer groups if many students contact her about similar themes.

- The peer groups can involve more relaxed discussion when students also receive help from their peers. In addition to peer support, students can find new friends in the group, says Leena.

The meetings can cover a wide variety of topics. During counselling, students can share their own stories.

- The clients are a very diverse group. We have new students in their early twenties, slightly older students switching their professions and international students trying to become a part of Finnish society and the school system, says Leena.

New students may feel anxious about making new friends and finding a suitable learning technique. Meanwhile, those switching their careers may struggle with becoming part of the higher education community and balancing their daily lives and studies.

- Students at higher education institutions have already passed many levels of vetting. We will get through any problems and challenges, Leena points out.

Getting help is not a taboo

According to Leena, the high points of her work include situations where she continues her communication with students even after their graduation in happy circumstances. It is also wonderful to notice how students develop and grow during the individual sessions and in different study units.

- For example, we have a study unit on performance anxiety. When it starts, the students find public speaking extremely difficult. During the study unit, you can see how they gain confidence as they receive positive feedback from other group members on their development, and you are no longer able to see their anxiety at the end of the course, Leena explains.

The contact details of the social counsellor and well-being services can be found on the Intranet. According to Leena, many aspects of the well-being team services have improved over the years.

-Now, our services form a clearer whole. Students are also less likely to hesitate to contact us, as issues related to learning difficulties and mental health are no longer taboo.

Leena advises students to participate actively in Laurea’s events, eat their meals on campus and ask new acquaintances for coffee. Active participation can lead to motivation and thus support coping with everyday life.

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