Counseling Service Educators Discuss Growing Mental Health Demand on Campus

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DePauw Counseling Services is located in the top floor of Lily athletic center.

In recent years, many colleges and universities all across the country have witnessed a growing demand for mental healthcare among students, most likely due to COVID-19, according to Malorie McGee, DePauw’s mental health and wellness educator. 

“Students are managing the transition back to in-person learning, navigating how to re-connect with others, needing support due to grief and loss, or experiencing exacerbated symptoms related to previously identified mental health challenges,” McGee said.

McGee and Trevor Yuhas, director of DePauw’s counseling services, shed light on current clinical services and how students could effectively access counseling services on campus. 

TDP: How did the mental healthcare demand on campus fluctuate recently?

TY and MM: This semester, our office has provided direct clinical services to 13% of the total student population, which will further increase by semester end. Demand for services is on pace for us to serve over 20% of the student body throughout this academic year. Additionally, at this point in the semester, we have connected with approximately 1200 students through more than 60 groups, outreach events, and programming efforts facilitated by our professional staff and mental health peer educators. Regarding the growing mental healthcare demand on-campus, we have some updates for students in need; there will be flexible scheduling, group and psychiatry services, plus on-demand online options. 

TDP: Can you further explain these counseling service updates? Will these options accommodate more students in the future?

TY and MM: Our current service model offers in-person and telehealth options for intake appointments, consultations, and individual counseling sessions. We have also been able to add limited evening-hour appointments and emergency/crisis walk-in hours, with crisis services available after-hours and on weekends to better accommodate students. A part-time psychiatrist has just increased his service with us, providing psychiatric evaluations and medication management for students, established with one of our clinical counselors. We have offered Social Wellness Programming created by our mental health peer educators, and WellTrack Interactive Self-Help Therapy, an online app free to DePauw students. Additionally, this semester, students are granted full access to the Relaxation Room, located in our suite, for opportunities to re-center, feel more grounded, and practice self-care. We hope to reach as many students as possible by providing many options and prioritizing inclusivity.

TDP: When did you put these new options into action? What is the feedback so far?

TY and MM: We began implementing updates and additions at the start of the semester and have found them to be well-utilized and effective. We are also consistently evaluating our services and strengthening options and resources to meet the needs of students.

TDP: How can students effectively access DePauw’s counseling services?

TY and MM: The quickest and best way to contact us is by calling our main office number (765-658-4268). Students can also reach us via email at counselingservices@depauw.edu, and our website is also a great place to visit. For outreach, prevention, or education needs and requests, students are encouraged to submit an Outreach Request Form. Finally, our Instagram (@depauwcounselingservices) provides mental health and wellness content created by our Mental Health Peer Educators, as well as up-to-date information about upcoming events and programming.

TDP: Do you have any other helpful information to share with DePauw students?

TY and MM: As a reminder, our services are at no additional cost to students. Counseling services located in the Lilly Center on the second floor, in the Buehler Health and Wellness Suites, and we will continue to offer several group/support spaces/Social Wellness Programming for the remainder of the semester. These include (but are not limited to):

  1. Mindful Yoga: Mondays, 4:30 – 5:15 p.m. and Wednesdays, 9:00 – 9:45 a.m., Lilly Center, Room 1019
  2. You Belong Here: Support group for LGBTQIA+ students, Mondays, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m., The Women’s Center
  3. Meditation at Center for Spiritual Life: Wednesdays, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m., Center for Spiritual Life
  4. HerStory: Support group for women survivors of sexual violence, Wednesday, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m., The Women’s Center
  5. Rocking Painting and Grounding: A Social Wellness Program focused on self-care and stress relief, Thursday, Nov. 11, 5:00 – 6:00 p.m., UB Living Room
  6. Intuitive Eating/Body-Image Event: Thursday, Nov. 11, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Hoover Dining Hall, Daseke Room