Campus counselors offer help
April 18, 2013
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April 1 marked the beginning of National Counseling Awareness Month. Counseling Services at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville recognizes this month as a tool to increase awareness of counseling services available to students on and off campus as well as promote happy, healthy lifestyles.
Each year, a national survey is conducted in which college students respond to questions relating to their levels of stress during the academic calendar. The most recent survey revealed that 52.2 percent of students experience high stress levels. Thirty-one percent of students surveyed also admitted to feeling so depressed that they could not function properly.
“These concerns are prevalent on campus, and they threaten students’ success,” said Teresa Miller, associate counselor for Counseling Services. “We want to make students aware so that they can return to a state of feeling healthy.”
During the Fall 2011 semester at UW-Platteville, Counseling Services conducted its first Learning Outcome Satisfaction survey, which consisted of a 48-item report that measured attitudes towards counseling services on campus of those students who had utilized them. Eighty-four percent of students surveyed felt they made improvements in regards to the issues for which they sought out counseling. Also, of the 37 percent of students who said they had been struggling with academics, 72 percent of them believed that counseling had helped them focus better on their academics.
Since the beginning of April, all counselors have been working with residence halls to inform residence directors and residence assistants about the counseling options available to students. They also have spent time in the lobbies to answer questions.
“We want to make sure that staff and students are aware that our services are free and that all information is confidential,” Miller said. “We start by telling them how to go about making an appointment.”
With finals coming up, students are more likely to seek out help to manage stress and test anxiety. Deidre Dalsing, director of Counseling Services at UW-Platteville, highlighted the importance of handling stressful schedules in effective ways.
“Awareness is key for students who tend to experience stress about important things such a finals,” Dalsing said. “I think it’s important for students to measure just how much pressure they are under and if all of that pressure is really necessary.”
Dalsing further explained that the most significant of problems that exist in students’ lives during stressful times stem from the lack of sleep.
“Brain development requires a lot of sleep,” Dalsing said. “Other things like exercise, a good diet, fun time and good support systems help reduce stress.”
In addition to routine counseling, Counseling Services has used National Counseling Awareness Month to help organize open-mindfulness demonstrations and yoga sessions to promote well-being.
“Stigma often prevents students from seeking help because they fear they will be discriminated against,” Miller said. “We are trying to convince students to be mentally healthy and to improve developmental skills.”
Miller also noted that counseling has been proven to increase retention rates as well as improve the well-being of individuals on college campuses.
Counseling Services provides a resource library which contains pamphlets that cover topics such as depression, stress and healthy eating. For more information, visit the Student Health Services desk located in Royce Hall Room 202 or call 608-342-1891 to schedule an appointment.