Rennel Marshall: “Mental Health Challenges are Like the FAFSA.”

by Monica Hoel
Rennel Marshall says mental health challenges don’t discriminate.

He jokes that it’s just like the FAFSA – the standardized form that families fill out to receive financial aid. “You fill in the numbers and they tell you how much financial aid you qualify for. That form doesn’t discriminate, and neither do challenges to mental health. And you don’t even have to apply for depression or anxiety.”

Rennel is a mental health counselor doing outpatient therapy through National Counseling Group and works as a medical social worker for Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. He says the pandemic has provided people with new challenges to mental health. He says the uncertainty of this time has added complication for those who have diagnosed mental health problems. But, he points out that this past year might have offered surprise challenges for those who have never examined their own mental health. “A lot of people stay busy to mask personal issues – and last year we were all forced to slow down.”

In offering advice on how to manage the anxiety of the pandemic he suggests that we start by simply admitting that we’re not ok. “Even when it’s not a pandemic, I’m a big fan of admitting we’re just not ok. And then taking some time to check in with ourselves about how we are feeling.” Rennel says sometimes just taking that time can help us process a lot of things; but it’s important to be honest if we think we might need to talk with a professional – especially during extraordinary times and situations.

This type of counseling wasn’t Rennel’s original plan. A double major in psychology and sports management, he was planning to be a sports psychologist. But one of the things that makes Rennel a great counselor is that he is very honest about his own feelings and challenges, and because he has identified that he has test anxiety his professors steered him in a direction that would get him into a graduate program without facing the hurdle of standardized tests. Now that he has been in this field awhile he says he has definitely found his niche.

He does still get to dabble in sports as he coaches football at Kellam High School in Virginia Beach. And he was recently invited by the E&H athletics department to return to his alma mater to do a lyceum on stress and how to deal with it. You can enjoy a conversation with Rennel found in the WEHC archives (interviews are in alpha order): https://archive.org/details/OntheDuckPondWall

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1193-laken-brooks-op-ed-piece-featured-on-cnn"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/75,0,249,173/7902_Laken_Brooks.rev.1586134728.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/75,0,249,173/7902_Laken_Brooks.rev.1586134728.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/75,0,249,173/7902_Laken_Brooks.rev.1586134728.jpg" alt="Laken Brooks, E&H Class of 2017" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="174" data-max-h="173" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1193-laken-brooks-op-ed-piece-featured-on-cnn">Laken Brooks’ Op-Ed Piece Featured on CNN</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Laken reminds us to be mindful that a face mask makes communication more difficult for the hearing impaired. <a href="/live/news/1193-laken-brooks-op-ed-piece-featured-on-cnn" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1079-mark-arrington-honored-for-innovative-teaching"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,324,278/7177_arrington_2.rev.1574356083.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,324,278/7177_arrington_2.rev.1574356083.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,324,278/7177_arrington_2.rev.1574356083.jpg" alt="Mark Arrington, E&H Class of 2002." width="345" height="225" data-max-w="324" data-max-h="278" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1079-mark-arrington-honored-for-innovative-teaching">Mark Arrington Honored for Innovative Teaching</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Mark was honored by VAHPERD as their 2019 Teacher of the Year. <a href="/live/news/1079-mark-arrington-honored-for-innovative-teaching" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/2283-eamph-mass-comm-student-story-colton-williams-gets"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,927,1167/11065_IMG-0721.rev.1648510170.JPG 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,927,1167/11065_IMG-0721.rev.1648510170.JPG 2x"/> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,927,1167/11065_IMG-0721.rev.1648510170.JPG 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,927,1167/11065_IMG-0721.rev.1648510170.JPG 2x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,927,1167/11065_IMG-0721.rev.1648510170.JPG 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,927,1167/11065_IMG-0721.rev.1648510170.JPG 2x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,927,1167/11065_IMG-0721.rev.1648510170.JPG" alt="Jenny Poston Bishop E&H Class of 1993" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,927,1167/11065_IMG-0721.rev.1648510170.JPG 2x" data-max-w="927" data-max-h="1167" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/2283-eamph-mass-comm-student-story-colton-williams-gets">E&H Mass Comm Student Story: Colton Williams gets the scoop on Jenny Poston Bishop’s luck</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><em>This is part of a series of stories by members of the 2022 E&H Mass Comm 302 Class. This story is by E&H Sophomore, Colton Williams.</em><br/><br/>Even though 1993 graduate Jenny Poston Bishop has won a ridiculously wide array of prizes, she says that there is more to it than just plain luck. <a href="/live/news/2283-eamph-mass-comm-student-story-colton-williams-gets" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>