When asked about her thoughts on the state of mental healthcare in Georgia, Jessica Stovall remarked, “since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health professionals have seen a significant increase in requests for counseling and other services, but we don’t have the infrastructure in place to meet the demand. Even with telehealth, people often face long wait lists or unaffordable session fees.” The state of Georgia falls below the national average for mental health services. Only 33% of young adults aged 12–17 in Georgia during 2016–2019 received depression care in the past year, lower than both the regional average (40.2%) and the national average (41.8%)” (Behavioral Health Barometer: Georgia, Volume 6: Indicators as measured through the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health and the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services). Mental health is an issue on the rise, and Jessica Stovall is bringing her knowledge and advocacy to Brewton-Parker College.
Jessica graduated from Williams Baptist University with a bachelor of science in psychology, and a master’s degree in counseling with a specialization in marriage and family counseling from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS). She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision from NOBTS.
Originally from Omaha, Arkansas, Jessica moved to Mount Vernon, Georgia after she felt the Lord calling her to a position at BPC. She left New Orleans and moved to southern Georgia, a place where she had no family or friends. She has seen the Lord’s favor in her life as she began her teaching career at BPC and sees the Holy Spirit move through campus on a daily basis.
She is currently an instructor of psychology and a licensed associate professional counselor who provides counseling services to students. At BPC, Jessica combines her love for teaching, counseling, building relationships, and helping students grow into the image of Jesus Christ.
Her aspirations are to invest in the next generation of counselors in southern Georgia, where mental health services are few and far between. She pours into students daily in the hopes to see them return to Mount Vernon and invest in their community after they complete their graduate studies. Her dreams also include publishing counselor education materials.
Outside of work, Jessica loves to travel. She has visited Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, and Israel. Her love for travel ties into her love of trying new plant-based dishes as well as learning espresso techniques to make the perfect coffee.
Jessica began teaching herself Spanish in the summer of 2021 in the hopes of developing a professional proficiency in the next five years. Her goal in learning a new language is to be able to provide bilingual counseling services for those who speak Spanish as their first language.
In 2021, Jessica was awarded the Annetta Jernigan Ph.D. Fellowship for Women for her studies at NOBTS. This fellowship covers the cost of tuition for four years. Continuing her education to better serve BPC students, as well as the surrounding community, inspires students to do the same while they attend BPC and after graduation.