Mental Health services improve this year

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DePauw University Counseling Services has updated their quality of care for this academic year.

To supplement the increase in counseling center visits, Dr. Julie d’Argent, director of the DePauw Counseling Center, said that DePauw counselling has moved to a more short-term model. DePauw counseling has seen a 28 percent increase in students seeking aid compared to this time last year.

“That’s really what counselling services at universities are designed for,” said d’Argent about short-term outpatient care. D’Argent said the average treatment time for short term care is five sessions.

Counseling services have also worked to create a 24 hour, seven days a week, wrap around service where students will have access to a counselor any time of the day. The wrap around service is unique to the counseling center and d’Argent said it “provides a way for us to follow up the next day.”

DePauw counseling has also partnered with Kognito, an online mental health training service. D’Argent hopes to use Kognito to help train faculty, staff and students how to help their peers, and act in mental health situations, such as if a friend is depressed or in the midst of an anxiety attack. “Students can go online and learn how to help others in distress,” d’Argent said.

D’Argent would also like to involve DePauw’s Greek life and other student organizations in mental health training. “I think it would be pretty cool if we could start a movement,” said d’Argent.

Along with Kognito, the counseling center has expanded their on-campus presence and outreach, along with expanding their offerings for group therapy from three options to five. Surviving to Thriving, a group therapy session designed for women who have experienced sexual assault or abuse, meets between 10:30 a.m. and noon on Fridays. The Success not Excess group is aimed to help people get over substance abuse and motivate themselves. It is offered on Fridays between 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m..

D’Argent credits these new initiatives to an increase in funding provided to the counseling center at the end of the last academic year.

Junior Erika Killion has used DePauw counseling services both last semester and this semester and said she has had a positive experience. “I’ve found them to be very helpful and very supportive and very encouraging,” Killon said.

Other students are still feeling frustrated with their service. “I found my intake helpful,” said junior Jerica Bean, “but my first visit was only fifteen minutes because my counselor didn't know how to help me.”

Dr. Mark Snelson, a visiting psychiatrist who comes to DePauw twice a month, is still employed by DePauw University counseling services. In email correspondence with d’Argent, outside of a formal interview conducted last week, d’Argent wrote that Dr. Snelson is paid an hourly fee. D’Argent wrote that students were never charged for canceling counseling appointments, but if a student misses an appointment with Dr. Snelson, or canceled too close to the time of the meeting, they will be charged to their DePauw accounts.

“Students who show up to their scheduled psychiatric appointments are never charged for psychiatric services,” wrote d’Argent.