TSRI Counseling Department Supports Faculty, Staff, Students, and their Families

By Mika Ono

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Is there a problem that's getting to be too much to handle by yourself? Just need some advice? TSRI employees, graduate students, and family members can draw on the free, confidential services of the Employee and Graduate Student Counseling Department in times of need.

"I see it as a sign of strength to know when you need help," says Jan Hill, director of the service. "I encourage people to contact me sooner rather than later, while a problem is still in its early stages."

Through confidential one-on-one sessions, Hill helps individuals with issues such as marriage and relationships, substance abuse, parenting issues, elder care, financial and legal difficulties, emotional concerns, stress, and job-related issues. Some people come in to talk with her once; others see her on an ongoing basis; still others are referred to resources in the community, such as support groups, child and elder care services, or financial or legal counseling.

Hill notes that the concerns of individuals at TSRI reflect both the community at large and the unique characteristics of the institute. "Everything you read about in the paper, I see in my office," says Hill. "At the same time, TSRI has an unusually high-achieving population and a very mobile one, which creates its own set of pressures.

"In science, you need your brain like a surgeon needs his or her hands," she says.

Hill actively works to promote mental health, as well as respond to concerns. To counteract stress and foster a sense of community, she has helped launch a number of programs on campus, including:

  • LINKS, an initiative that offers faculty, staff, and students opportunities for having fun, learning, and meeting new people while pursuing a hobby or interest. The activities under the LINKS umbrella currently include: Arts and Crafts, the Latin Dance Club, the Movie Club, ScrippsAssists, Torrey Mesa Ski Club, TSRI Softball, Soccer, Spanish Class, Scripps Outstanding Speakers Toastmasters Club, Weight Watchers, and Yoga. For more information and contacts for each of these groups, see the LINKS web page.

  • The Society of International Spouses, which was started with Director of the International Office Lina Quinsaat to support the spouses of international scholars, who often arrive in the area with few friends and limited English language skills. The group offers the spouses a chance to connect with each other, go on outings, hear speakers, and attend cooking classes.

  • Lunch & Learn Series, which brings speakers to campus on a monthly basis. Recent topics have included volunteering, safeguarding your legal interests, balancing personal and professional demands, and managing stress.

  • Personal Skills for Life and Work, quarterly workshops designed to assist TSRI employees in learning skills and habits that will benefit them in both their personal and professional lives.

  • A library of books and videos. A list of available resources, which can be signed out and returned at a later date, is posted on the department's book list page and video list page.

In addition, Hill offers career counseling and exploration, particularly for graduate students and research associates who are in the process of charting their career paths.

Hill has been with Scripps for 13 years, first as part of the Scripps Health system then with TSRI, and finds her role rewarding. "It's great to be a social worker and still have the flexibility to set up preventive programs," she says. "That is a wonderful combination for me."

Hill can be reached at her confidential line, x4-2950, or via e-mail, janhill@scripps.edu. Her office on the ground level of the Administrative Building, 3301 N. Torrey Pines Court, is accessible through a private entrance off the courtyard between the Administrative Building and the Conference Center. She can usually schedule an appointment within a week.




Jan Hill can be reached at her confidential line, x4-2950, or via e-mail, janhill@scripps.edu.