Counseling Center planning expansion

Ashlee Burns

After helping more than 4,000 students in the past year, the Counseling Center hopes to do even more to address students’ growing needs this year.

The department has seen a 40 percent increase in use by students and will be expanding the West Campus counseling office into a full functioning Counseling Center. The center will be located in Health Science Building 1, Room 262, and is expected to be completed by the first day of the fall semester.

“The purpose of all of our programs is prevention and to meet the needs of as many students as possible,” said Lead Counselor Rita Hernandez.

While continuing to provide individual and couples’ sessions, the counseling office will be providing group counseling starting this year. Some of these groups will be focused on certain topics such as depression and anxiety.

Participation is not required in these groups and students are encouraged to attend, even if only to listen, Hernandez said.

“These will be five to 10 participant groups in a therapeutic-based session led by a counselor,” Hernandez said. “Not only does this let you know you are not alone, but you are surrounded by like-minded people who understand.”

The department will also continue its previous programs, such as “Be Well,” “Let’s Talk” and “Kick Back,” and will again bring therapy dogs to the East and West campuses Oct. 9-10 as a stress-relieving opportunity for students and faculty.

“We’ll be bringing the dogs back with our partner Paws-Up Inc., which is a volunteer organization with trained and licensed therapy dogs,” Hernandez said. “Everyone loves when the dogs come.”

Although many of its programs are focused around the mental health of students, the center encourages students to care for their bodies as well.

The center’s annual “Spooktacular” Health Fair will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 26 in Harvin Center, Room 233, in which community agencies will provide students with health information and resources. Walgreens will be providing students with free immunizations.

For more information contact the Counseling Center at 361-698-1586 or stop by the Harvin Center, Room 233.

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