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/1445-a-gift-for-a-lifetime-chuck-alexander-found-a"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/409,314,1054,960/8741_me_and_bro.rev.1602621613.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/409,314,1054,960/8741_me_and_bro.rev.1602621613.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/409,314,1054,960/8741_me_and_bro.rev.1602621613.jpg" alt="Chuck Alexander, E&H Class of 1989 (right), with his twin brother, Chris." width="345" height="225" data-max-w="645" data-max-h="646" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1445-a-gift-for-a-lifetime-chuck-alexander-found-a">A Gift for a Lifetime: Chuck Alexander found a unique way to say thank you</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Chuck Alexander (E&H ’89) remembers a lot of details about what it was like for him and his twin brother, Chris, to be raised by a single parent. <a href="/live/news/1445-a-gift-for-a-lifetime-chuck-alexander-found-a" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/520-super-heroes-and-princesses"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,12,214,226/4535_41368297_705985249770551_4194188508329410560_n.rev.1536365207.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,12,214,226/4535_41368297_705985249770551_4194188508329410560_n.rev.1536365207.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,12,214,226/4535_41368297_705985249770551_4194188508329410560_n.rev.1536365207.jpg" alt="Cathy Bottrell, E&H '82" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="214" data-max-h="214" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/520-super-heroes-and-princesses">Super heroes and princesses?</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> It’s all in a day’s work for Cathy Bottrell (E&H ’82). <a href="/live/news/520-super-heroes-and-princesses" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1325-got-a-minute-catch-up-with-vanessa-capalad-burrell"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,337,337/8373_vanessa_capalad.rev.1595383020.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,337,337/8373_vanessa_capalad.rev.1595383020.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,337,337/8373_vanessa_capalad.rev.1595383020.jpg" alt="Vanessa Capalad Burrell, E&H Class of 1992" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="337" data-max-h="337" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1325-got-a-minute-catch-up-with-vanessa-capalad-burrell">Got a minute? Catch up with Vanessa Capalad Burrell (’92)</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Even in the midst of a pandemic, she’s hiring! <a href="/live/news/1325-got-a-minute-catch-up-with-vanessa-capalad-burrell" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1679-the-trap-of-nostalgia"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2094,2055/9554_The_Spine_Of_Night_Filmmaker_Morgan_Galen_King.rev.1615991868.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2094,2055/9554_The_Spine_Of_Night_Filmmaker_Morgan_Galen_King.rev.1615991868.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2094,2055/9554_The_Spine_Of_Night_Filmmaker_Morgan_Galen_King.rev.1615991868.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2094,2055/9554_The_Spine_Of_Night_Filmmaker_Morgan_Galen_King.rev.1615991868.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2094,2055/9554_The_Spine_Of_Night_Filmmaker_Morgan_Galen_King.rev.1615991868.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2094,2055/9554_The_Spine_Of_Night_Filmmaker_Morgan_Galen_King.rev.1615991868.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2094,2055/9554_The_Spine_Of_Night_Filmmaker_Morgan_Galen_King.rev.1615991868.jpg" alt="Morgan Galen King, E&H Class of 2001" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2094,2055/9554_The_Spine_Of_Night_Filmmaker_Morgan_Galen_King.rev.1615991868.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2094,2055/9554_The_Spine_Of_Night_Filmmaker_Morgan_Galen_King.rev.1615991868.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2094" data-max-h="2055" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1679-the-trap-of-nostalgia">“The Trap of Nostalgia”</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Morgan King’s new full-length animated feature is a throw-back to a popular 1980’s classic, but he was careful not to be limited by the past as he created something he wanted to stand up in the present. <a href="/live/news/1679-the-trap-of-nostalgia" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/2106-family-traditions"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,92,243,335/10510_IMG-2694.rev.1637190198.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,92,243,335/10510_IMG-2694.rev.1637190198.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,92,243,335/10510_IMG-2694.rev.1637190198.jpg" alt="Erika Wright (left, Emory & Henry Class of 2011) with her father and sister in traditional regalia." width="345" height="225" data-max-w="243" data-max-h="243" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/2106-family-traditions">Family Traditions</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Traditions are important for most families. But family traditions might be just a little more crucial to Erika Wright. As a member of the Virginia indigenous tribe Cheroenhaka (Nottoway), Erika understands that traditions are more than just something to share with other family members: traditions are a matter of cultural survival. <a href="/live/news/2106-family-traditions" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/3235-noah-dean-is-a-consultant-for-wetland-protection"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/59,155,696,792/14890_Noah_dean.jfif" alt="Man smiling" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/3235-noah-dean-is-a-consultant-for-wetland-protection">Noah Dean Is a Consultant for Wetland Protection</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><p> Noah Dean covers a lot of ground – and much of it is unique and rare and important.</p><a href="/live/news/3235-noah-dean-is-a-consultant-for-wetland-protection" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>