Lion house calls seeks to break stigma

Brianna Patt, Managing Editor

Lion House Calls started three years ago when Adam Metts, staff counselor and assistant director of training and supervision, first arrived at Texas A&M University-Commerce. 

For him, the idea of someone coming to campus and gathering the courage to step into the counseling center and ask for help could be hard for students. Metts wanted to form a more approachable space and break down the stigma that receiving therapy means that there is something wrong. 

“A lot of students just need to see the counselor maybe once just to sort of talk through some of the adjustments,” he said. “Problems they’re going through, maybe being a freshman for the first time on campus just trying to navigate all the new changes and trying to figure out where you fit on campus and what that looks like. That can be stressful and sometimes overwhelming so it was the idea that if we see you more often if we’re out in your residence hall and we’re more approachable then you’re more likely to come by and see us when you need us and you need to schedule an appointment.”

Pre-COVID-19, Metts stated that Lion House Calls originally took place in two residence halls each semester, with a therapist placed there a couple of hours a week so students could come in and ask questions. They would rotate between buildings, shifting from each residence hall until they worked through all of them and were as available to students as possible.  When the pandemic hit, however, they switched to live streams via zoom from 3 to 4 p.m. every Wednesday. During the live streams, there are 20 to 30 minutes discussing mental well-being and mental health topics, leaving room for discussion.

“We just leave it open-ended and allow them to ask and talk to us about whatever they want to ask,” he said. 

“Faculty take the information back to students and students attend to get more information about whatever they’re experiencing,” he said. “A rise in anxiety, depression and ultimately a lack of motivation. Attending Lions House Calls gave students a form of human connection.”

He stated that he wants students to know that the counseling center is there for them. 

“We are here for them. We’re present and we’re here to listen to your concerns and answer your questions,” Metts said.