Counselor Cares About Students’ Mental Health

By Sarah Ferns

March 25, 2019

Alex Yebernetsky sits relaxed at his computer desk, Tibetan Serenity music from Pandora arises from his speakers. The office is decorated in positive life quotes (Good Vibes!) much like you could find in the home section at the local Target. He drinks a Redbull and looks up from his screen.  

Yebernetsky is currently a counseling intern at Genesee Community College. His internship is the duration of only a year; however, he already said he has created wonderful connections and really good progress with his clients.  

“It’s all voluntary,” he said. The students seek out the help and therefore are just as invested in their mental health as we the counselors are.” This is what Yebernetsky said he enjoys the most about his internship at Genesee Community College.  

High school was where his passion for counseling really developed, which later progressed into a love of people, working with them and helping them. He followed this growing passion into Medaille College in Buffalo, NY. Where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in counseling and will achieve his Master’s in May 2019 as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor.  

At first, the 24-year-old said he had doubts of whether this was the right career path for him. He said, “If in this program you don’t have doubts, you may not have a pulse, this is a tough field.” Without that doubt, however, he wouldn’t have learned to self-reflect on his own experiences and inner turmoil. Yebernetsky states that having the willingness to learn about himself, as well as the necessary knowledge in this career field is the key to success, makes him a better counselor today.  

The counseling center at Genesee Community College, is equipped with a hardworking and dedicated staff, amongst them including Monica Romeo, PhD, LMHC assistant dean for student services. Romeo also worked with Yebernetsky as her psychology student previously at Medaille College. She recalls his work ethic in class and his kindhearted persona. “Alex is caring, able to see people, and help them with where they need to be mental health wise.” Romeo is pleased to call Yebernetsky a colleague and is looking forward to see what the future has in store for him.  

“Caffeine is the key to get through this program,” Yebernetsky said chuckling and then took a sip of his Redbull. Getting to a more serious note, he said, “The only thing you can do in this line of work is take it day by day. It’s constantly growing and changing, and it’s important to stay current and up-to-date on the knowledge past, present, and future.”  

The ways in which Yebernetsky stays current with his clients and stays involved with students and staff is by advertisements around campus. These include DIY wellness and health activities via posters, fliers, and emails. He is also running a young men’s group at Genesee Community College focused primarily on awareness of respect, consent, anger management, and mental health. Yebernetsky offers classroom introductions where he provides information about the Genesee Community College counseling services. He is also coordinating the Wellness Health Fair coming soon in early April.   

In order to be better prepared to help others, Yebernetsky stresses passion as the most important aspect to have in this degree program and would tell others interested in this field that “no one can teach passion,” he said. Studying and working hard is half of the equation; however, he said, learning to harness and stay true to your passion is the best way to succeed.