Counseling center experiences increase in patients

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    Use of the university’s counseling center is on the rise but not just for mental health issues, a university psychologist said.

    Eric Wood, a licensed psychologist, provided individual and group counseling to students at the university’s Counseling, Testing and Mental Health Center. He also conducted and planned outreach and prevention education programs for the campus.

    “Most college counseling centers in America have seen an increase in students in the past few years,” Woods said. “However, this may also be due to the fact that students are becoming more comfortable with counseling, and there is currently less stigma about counseling than a few years ago.”

    Ryan Forrest, a senior environmental earth resources major, said he went to the health center to get help and advice on dealing with everyday stresses.

    “They have counselors for every situation or have someone to help you with anything you may need,” Forrest said. “They gave me confidence that my specific situation would remain in ultimate confidentiality.”

    Forrest also spent time as a resident assistant and talked with the counseling center on ways to help deal with the stresses of academic workloads and extracurricular activities.

    Wood said the faculty was trained to look for students under severe stress. During their newcomer orientation, faculty and staff attended a presentation called “Recognizing and Helping Students in Distress.”

    “This training is designed to help faculty and staff recognize the signs of distress and become familiar with campus resources,” Wood said.

    One of the largest groups faculty look out for is freshmen.

    “Typically, we do see many first year students at the start of the fall semester and seniors at the end of the spring semester,” Wood said.

    He said that was due in part to the transition of high school to college and the transition between college and the working field. He also said an increase in mental stress on campus could be due to the poor economy.

    Wood said the best way for students to combat stress is to value self-care, notice any signs of being overwhelmed and to not be afraid to seek help if needed.

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