(Written for The Griffon News at MWSU)
When everything goes all tight in the chest and it feels like the weight of a thousand atmospheres is crushing in from everywhere at once, relentless. The ticking of seconds screaming like thunder as they fall away while the expectations of deadlines and the ghosts of too many wasted nights haunt with rising vigor. Missouri Western offers us a hand up.
With the recent wide-spread media coverage surrounding the suicide of an actor and comedian most students probably grew up with as a household name, Robin Williams, it seems like an appropriate time to tackle the issue of depression and the services that Western offers to students who may be battling with it.
Not only does Western offer the services of three very qualified and experienced counselors, we students don’t have to pay a dime for it Counseling Director Dave Brown explains.
“There is no charge for students to come which is kind of cool,” he said. “Because some campuses around the country students will have to pay copays. So no cost, and there are no limits to the amount of times a student can be seen. So they can be seen one time or a hundred and ten times.”
The number of students with psychological concerns has been quickly escalating for some time now according to a survey of counseling directors done by the American Psychological Association in 2013.
“Ninety-five percent of college counseling center directors surveyed said the number of students with significant psychological problems is a growing concern in their center or on campus,” they said. “Seventy percent of directors believe that the number of students with severe psychological problems on their campus has increased in the past year.
Steven Potter, one of the counselors on campus, explains that students shouldn’t hesitate to come and talk with any of the counselors if they feel they need to.
“Sometimes it is hard to ask for help,” he said. “The other thing I would like to get across is don’t be afraid to ask for help. We don’t bite. We are here to try and help. But a lot of people are really scared and wonder what is this going to be like and I don’t want to talk to someone I don’t know or are they going to judge me. I would really like for students to kind of go beyond that.”
Brown also explains that the school’s counselors are subject to all of the same doctor patient confidentiality regulations held by any other professional mental health facility.
“We have the same restrictions and guidelines that any other kind of mental health facility would have,” he said. “With particularnesses on confidentiality. A lot of times the students are confused by the fact that “well how how can I go and talk to somebody at the school, aren’t you part of the school?” Well, yeah, you pay our salary but at the same time the administration is very aware of what confidentiality means and so nothing that is said in here leaves here without the student’s permission. Even if the president himself were to call and say “do you know Joe Schmoe?” Well, no I can’t say.”