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5 Minute Professor

 Dr. Frank Budd, Director of Couseling and Substance Abuse

 

Dr. Frank Budd, director of Counseling and Substance Abuse Services, has 30 years of experience in mental health and is retired from the Air Force after 24 years. He is also the proud father of a recent College of Charleston graduate!

Q: Tell us a little about the issues college students commonly face and what programs are in place to take care of them.

A: Common concerns are anxiety, depression, substance abuse and relationship issues. We offer mental health screening, support groups, professional and peer counseling, psychiatric care, internships, and ADHD and learning disorder testing. We also get out of the office quite a bit. We have “Don’t Drop That Class” where we go into the classrooms with the professor’s permission and talk about stress management, dating and making friends. We screen, train and mentor RAs. We go to all the Greek organizations and teach them how to recognize students in distress and how to problem solve. There is a Voluntary Substances Abuse Recovery Program for students who know they have a problem and want support from people their own age. The CofC LateNight program is fun! It was started as an alternative to the party scene to give students an opportunity to hang out with like-minded peers who are interested in participating in alcohol-free programming.

 Q: Are the counselors equipped to help students with serious problems?

A: There are several doctoral-level staff members at CSAS. All the counselors here have at least a master’s degree and at least four years of professional experience plus at least two years of professional supervision. We are all licensed. Several of our counselors are hired for their special training in substance abuse or eating disorders. We have a part time psychiatrist two days a week who can help with medication. If the student has a complex, long-standing illness we can recommend professional resources in Charleston.

Q: What is your best advice for parents?

A: If you want the kids to tell you the truth about what’s going on in school, make sure you have your own life. If your son or daughter knows that there is some stressor you are going through, or that you are worried about them all the time, they are not going to share with you what’s going on in their life because you have shown them you can’t handle that. You need to take care of yourself. Now is the time to consider hobbies, see your friends, go back to school, and do something that lets them know you are ok so they don’t feel their emotions or problems are a burden to you.

Q: How do you advise parents to talk specifically about their student’s drinking choices?

A: Parents need to talk to their students about their family values, what is acceptable and not acceptable behavior. Non-accountability hurts kids. It is important, as a parent, to clearly state to your child what your expectations are. It’s important that your student hears you say, for example, “I expect you to go to college and not get drunk.” Students may laugh at that but they are still listening. Your values and choices as a parent are still a part of how your student will make decisions.  I would tell my kids, “You are a Budd and the Budds don’t misuse alcohol, we don’t use drugs.” Sharing your beliefs and experiences with your student is part of what helps them form eventual independent judgment and make life decisions. Parents need to understand the bottom line and that’s the student’s grades. If the student’s grades at midterms are below their capability, they are likely making choices that are hurting them.

If you want to help with alcohol-free programming contribute to the Laura Griffin Fund. Money from the fund provides quality services to help students to lead safe and productive lives on campus. We give grants to RAs and the Greek organizations based on successful alcohol and drug abuse prevention efforts. Sometimes we give out scholarships to students who want to pursue a psychology program with a substance abuse specialty.

Dr. Budd can be reached at buddf@cofc.edu and 843.953.5640.