Katie Schulzetenberg –
Mental health is an increasing concern, especially for college students. The balance between classes, jobs, and relationships can be overwhelming for students. However, at the University of Wisconsin-Stout there are resources to handle many common issues that students may go through. The Counseling Center at Stout sees students from all classes from freshman to grad students. They offer multiple programs, therapists, and resources to students who may be struggling with anything from roommate troubles, to severe trauma.
“We do individual couples and group counseling, and we also have an alcohol and drug education program. We do lots of outreach on campus with presentations and our Wellness Pros, who are undergraduate students that are part of the outreach program,” said Chasidy Faith, associate director and licensed psychologist at the Counseling Center. The Wellness Pros to outreach in resident halls and tabling events as well as one large campus event each semester. “Students teaching students is a powerful way to learn. And it helps let people know about the Counseling Center as well,” added Jeanne Rothaupt, licensed marriage and family therapist and director of the Counseling Center. We are still dealing with stigma and I think the pros and the outreach help with that,” said Rothaupt.
The Counseling Center also has what they call a “Zen Zone.” The Zen Zone is a quiet corner of center where students can take time to relax. There is a massage chair, light therapy, relaxation books, and even some lavender.
“We don’t have to diagnose here, and we don’t bill insurance. We can deal with whatever students are struggling with; It doesn’t have to be a diagnosable mental health issue,” said Rothaupt. The Counseling Center also offers walk-ins for students who may be in a crisis and need immediate help. “There are three of us that are trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which is a specific trauma protocol program. I am certified in it and have been doing it for 20 years. So, there are people here who can help with the more significant traumas that students can experience,” said Rothaupt.
“The most common issue that students come in for is anxiety, and it didn’t use to be that way. Relationship issues used to be our number one concern, but anxiety and depression are ahead of those now,” said Rothaupt. Based on the number of students coming in for anxiety, Rothaupt and other thought that Stout was possibly worse than others, but after looking at the national average, they saw that Stout was average as far as students struggling with anxiety and depression. “It might be that we are seeing an increase in students reaching out for help and the stigma for mental health and giving care has reduced,” said Rothaupt.
The Counseling Center is particularly busy during midterm season. “October is usually a very hard month for students. They start going into shorter days and there is really no break besides Thanksgiving. Freshman are also adjusting for the first time,” said Rothaupt.
The Counseling Center works hard to make sure that every student that comes in is able to be helped. One way that has been introduced is group therapy. Group therapy helps the Counseling Center with being able to help more students at once, while also utilizing group therapy as an effective therapy strategy that has been known to help with social anxiety and public speaking.
The Counseling Center works with other offices on campus, especially Student Services to help students at all angles. We feel very supported by the University and SSA, and our administration is supportive of it. We are always trying to more with new tools such as WellTrack so that students can get help no matter what their level of involvement with the Counseling Center is. WellTrack is an interactive app that delivers self-help therapy.
The demand for counselors is high, but the Counseling Center is constantly getting creative in making sure that students have what they need. “I would love to see another counselor or two in the future. The need is clearly here. We are doing the best we can, and we are really trying to meet the student’s needs,” said Rothaupt.
The Counseling Center is located on the fourth floor of Bowman Hall, and they are open from 8 am to 4:30 Monday through Thursday.