UW-Platteville Counseling Services takes Initiative

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Counseling Services has taken steps to improve their services to better meet the needs of the students and faculty on campus.

One of the major changes was to the triage process. Clinical triage is the process which allows for rapid screening of needs in order to provide more immediate access to care for UW-Platteville students presenting distress. Counseling Services has always had a triage process, but it was changed in the fall of 2017 to accommodate student’s needs. As a result, Counseling Services has seen a 159 percent increase in the use of triage appointments from fall 2016 to fall 2017.  All university professional counseling staff perform clinical triage duties on a rotating daily schedule.

“Annually, there has been an increase of the utilization of our services,” director of Counseling Services Deirdre Dalsing said. “The move to triage has taken some pressure off the student in crisis because they don’t have to wait long, pressure off the department because we don’t have to worry about fitting someone into an already busy schedule and it takes pressure off the front receptionist because she doesn’t have to determine if it’s an emergency.”

In addition to updating the triage, Counseling Services has expanded group counseling opportunities. A new drop-in group called “Beyond Anxiety: Tips to Live Your Best Life” is offered two times a week where students will learn ways to manage anxiety they are facing related to academics, social situations or daily living. The other group is called “A Mindful Way Through Depression,” and it meets for eight weeks to address the symptoms of depression by learning mindful practices each week.

In the fall of 2016, Counseling Services created the College Dean Liaison program which intentionally assigned a counselor to serve as a liaison between the college deans and the Counseling Services. With the addition of a new counselor this year, Counseling Services was able to assign a liaison to the athletic department, providing them the same recourses that were offered to the college deans. Counseling Services will continue the liaison positions for each of the colleges at UW-Platteville.

“The liaison program makes easier for college deans to get in contact with Counseling Services. [It’s] more immediate contact,” Dalsing said.

The goal of the liaison program is to eliminate the stereotypes that make it hard for students to seek help, use education to aid in prevention and outreach and lessen the necessity for a student to leave college prematurely.

“I think the initiative will help because with the number of student effected by mental health concerns, it’s awesome that our university is putting more focus on this,” senior broad field science education major Amber Inman said.  “The new services added are really going to help the students, especially the athletes since they don’t often have specified support.”

Although the triage change is new, changes have been seen already on campus in the student population.

“With new triage process, we already know it’s working. With group, we’re slowly starting to see student involvement,” Dalsing said. “We’re continuing to develop it and our efforts are going toward group counseling this semester.”

For more information about the group sessions, or if you would like to sign up, please to go this website  https://www.uwplatt.edu/counseling-services/group-therapy or contact Deirdre Dalsing, Director of Counseling Services at [email protected] or call 608-342-1865.