Have you ever felt like you had nowhere to turn, or were so stressed out that you could barely function? The Counseling Center provides mental health services for students by means of individual, couples, and group sessions at no cost, and they have a psychiatrist available one day per week. If you’re reading this and thinking that you could gain absolutely nothing from the Counseling Center because you have no major mental health concerns, think again. According to the National College Health Assessment Survey (2005), out of 624 WCU students, ninety percent felt overwhelmed by all they had to do, and fifty-nine percent felt things were hopeless. Chances are that we’ve all felt like that before. The most common reasons for going for therapeutic consultations are depression, anxiety and stress, followed by family and relationship-based problems. Sometimes ResLife or Judicial Affairs will refer students who have violated code of conduct standards (i.e.; alcohol violations, violent behaviors) for mandatory assessments. The Counseling Center is here to “facilitate self exploration, understanding, and skill development, and encourage decisions and actions in support of personal goals and healthy behaviors and attitudes”, according to the Director of the Counseling Center, Dr. John Ritchie. The Counseling Center has many group counseling opportunities that touch on a variety of topics to promote students’ growth, self-awareness, and mental health. From “Enhancing Self Esteem” to “Love Your Body” to “Survivors of Sexual Assault/Abuse” to the “Rainbow Room,” the participants in these groups can learn from the counselors and one another that they are not alone, and from there, they can enhance acceptance of themselves. Although the center does not respond to all issues and is not considered a comprehensive counseling center, they provide “short term, goal oriented counseling”. After office hours, there are 24/7 Emergency Services available with a counselor on call at all times, and during office hours, there are 11:00 and 4:00 emergency appointment hours everyday. If you are concerned about a friend, here’s what you can do to help them:- Consult with the Residential Living staff or Student Affairs- Encourage your friend to go to a consultation, or if it is a true crisis, encourage them to go to the emergency appointment hours- If it is after hours and there is a real crisis, call the Emergency Services available through the WCU Police- Come in for a consultation about your friend, and if possible, bring the person with youThe Counseling Center is not just about therapy sessions. “We help train and teach students to make mental health presentations and programs around campus,” says Dr. Ritchie, referring to CLAW (Campus Leaders Advocating Wellness) in conjunction with the Wellness Center. Undergraduates can become involved in the Counseling Center by joining CLAW, and second year internships are available to graduate students. For more information about the Counseling Center, please call 227-7469. If you are interested in becoming involved by joining CLAW, please call the Wellness Center at 227-3471.