The unfortunate misconception students have about the Counseling Center is that it is only for emergencies.
Dr. Benedict Ezeoke, Executive Director for Health Services, Counseling & Accessibility, encourages students to come by the UWG Counseling Center, even if they think their problems are not a big deal.
“We don’t want our students to only visit the center when they are very, very sick,” said Ezeoke. “We want them to be part of the center, to know that these services are there for them. They can come around and ask questions and seek advice. You don’t have to be suffering from schizophrenia or manic depression to come around.”
Ezeoke also said that students have a tendency to minimize problems and do not admit to themselves or to others that they need help. This is why it is important for students to learn about what problems can occur and how they can lead to more serious issues down the line.
“The most important thing we do is to create health and wellness consciousness in every student and encourage them to seek help,” said Ezeoke. “If you feel that things are not normal, if you feel overwhelmed, we encourage you to come around. Some students think that the only time you need to seek help is when you are incapacitated, but what we encourage them to do is to seek help.”
No issue is ever too small or insignificant for the Counseling Center to help students with.
“Even if you feel lonely, if you want to talk to somebody, you can come around and speak to us and maybe from that conversation, other things will come up,” said Ezeoke.
Other than this, many students do not know about the wide variety of services that the Counseling Center provides.
“Specifically, the Counseling Center offers individual counseling, group counseling, outreach to educate people about mental health, case management, and training for staff,” said Ezeoke. “We can also do some relational things to help students go to the right place, help them plan their life and their finances, and help them approach their studies. It’s a holistic approach to health and wellness that we apply.”
Ezeoke also emphasized the importance for students’ mental health to try extracurricular activities or connect with others.
“Be part of the university process,” said Ezeoke. “University is not just for academics. Do other things so that you don’t just pass through the university, you want the university topass through you. That will help you to be a formidable adult ready to face the world after your graduation.”
Being a part of the community allows students to avoid feelings of isolation and loneliness. As a part of the university process, students should also remember that all of the services and resources on campus, such as the Counseling Center, Health Services and Accessibility Services, are here for their benefit and that they are completely welcome to use them. These services are free or discountedbecause they are included in tuition.
“Students have so many resources, and they have the right to use them because those resources are there for them,” said Ezeoke. “They should own them and know that they are their own. Even if it means coming aroundand asking questions, just know that you have the right to do that, and people are here waiting for you to assist. Nothing is stupid. Come and ask questions.”
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