‘Let’s Talk’ provides informal mental health counseling at RU

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RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ7)— It’s been one day since former Radford University student Luisa Cutting pleaded guilty to killing her roommate earlier this year.

WDBJ7 checked in with the university to see what resources are available to students who are in need of help, to help prevent incidents like this in the future.

“There are no words for this tragedy,” Cutting read from a handwritten note to the courtroom Monday.

All that Cutting can do now is say she’s sorry for killing her roommate, but her attorney said she was experiencing a psychotic episode when it all happened.

“Luisa quit the Latino Club suddenly, without any warning, she just terminated and she says I don’t know what’s going on, but she’s been reciting and chanting religious verses all evening,” Cutting’s attorney Blair Howard said.

Both behaviors are examples of warning signs Radford University’s director of student counseling said we should all watch out for.

“We’re offering more group counseling this semester to try and connect with more students, but it’s not been a response to any single incident,” said RU’s counseling director Brian Lusk.

Lusk helped to launch ‘Let’s Talk,' a chance for students to informally meet with counselors at places they typically visit like the library. It’s just another way for students to get help without the stigma associated with visiting the center.

“If coming to the counseling center is not something you want to do, ‘Let’s Talk’ is a great option for you,” Lusk said. “You don’t have to do paperwork and you can hit the places you’re already coming on campus anyway.”

Lusk said professors are trained to have a conversation with a student if they notice any differences in behaviors, and that they’re now more comfortable referring students to the center when necessary.

“Sometimes it’s as simple as saying ‘hey, I’ve noticed that this is different about you, is everything going okay with you?’ So I think that’s working pretty well on campus, faculty and staff are getting more comfortable with having those conversations,” Lusk said.

He said any of us can step up and help when we notice people isolating themselves, changing their diets or behavior.

“Sometimes when people are at a point where they’re headed toward a crisis or maybe in a crisis, they may not know or be thinking about what they need and where they need to go for help,” Lusk said. “They may not be thinking clearly if they’re not in the right emotional state.”

In addition to adding the ‘Let’s Talk’ opportunities, the student counseling center has expanded their walk-in hours. Lusk said the best way to get help is to visit their center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you need help after hours, you can call the university police department or any community services.

Counseling is included in the student tuition at the university. There is no additional fee for help.

Student Counseling Services can be reached at 540-831-5226.
RUPD can be reached at 540-831-5500.

Read more about ‘Let’s Talk’ here: https://www.radford.edu/content/student-counseling/home/let-s-talk.html.

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