Outdated Wellness Center Gets An Update
At the end of the hallway in the Liberal Arts building, there is an inconspicuous door, with a sign that reads "Center for Wellness & Wellbeing." The sign is warm and welcoming, quite a change from the plain metal sign of the Center for Psychological Services which used to hang in its place.
“We wanted to get rid of the stigma of 'psychological services' and make it more welcoming for students to approach our office,” said Student Services Assistant Martha Whitfield.
Whitfield is one of the first faces to greet you when you step inside the office, peeking over the chest-high reception desk, with a warm smile and bushy brown hair. Whitfield has seen a big difference since the center re-opened with the new name and logo this semester. “Now I believe [the students] are coming in a lot more, without difficulties,” said Whitfield.
A study published in Psychological Science In the Public Interest (a journal by the Association for Psychological Science), written by Patrick W. Corrigan, Benjamin G. Druss and Deborah A. Perlick, from Oct 2014 titled "The Impact of Mental Illness Stigma on Seeking and Participating in Mental Health Care," shows that the stigma surrounding mental illness can prevent as many as 56 percent of patients to seek treatment, usually out of fear of being labeled crazy, ostracized by their friends and family, or because they think they can handle it themselves.
“In the past, what they would do is they would walk in front of the office, and they would not come in,” said Whitfield. “It has made a big difference, because now we see people coming in and they feel more comfortable.”
The center’s services remain largely unchanged; they’re still a short-term treatment center, but they have improved their crisis hours, with the goal that everyone should be serviced. If long-term care is necessary, the center has a list of clinics they can recommend, even for people without insurance, but their main focus is still suicide prevention rather than treatment.
“You can find us in the student services event calendar, every month we have workshops scheduled,” Whitfield said in regards to monthly workshops held in the HSS building. With themes such as stress management, suicide prevention, mindfulness, etc. “Our goal is to prevent suicide, that’s our main goal."
When asked if she has anything else she’d like to tell the students, Whitfield said, “Just that we have a very comfortable atmosphere, and when they come in, we’re here to service them, and they will be treated with respect.”
Center for Wellness & Wellbeing
Mon - Thur 10 am - 12 pm & 3 pm - 4 pm
Friday 10 am - 12 pm