Coping in the UB community
Published: Friday, June 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
He was hiding pain behind his smile for several years. Every day he hoped that no one would find out he was gay.
She locked herself in the bathroom meal after meal, stuck her fingers down her throat, and purged until everything inside of her was gone; she hoped no one would find out she was bulimic.
Her period was one week late, and she realized that it was time for her to take the test. She crossed her fingers and closed her eyes – two lines appeared on the stick in her hands.
He couldn’t figure out how to balance his schoolwork and social life. Drugs became his savior and with each passing day he hoped no one would notice how depressed he was becoming.
There are 30,000 students at UB; some step onto campus for the first time with problems and fears that they hope to overcome, while others stumble upon new problems throughout their journey. In both cases, students are provided with help from the professional and volunteer staff on campus. Counseling Services, Wellness Education, and Health Services are available at different parts of campus and offer a myriad of different assistance.
The Counseling Services staff is comprised of individuals specifically trained to recognize, treat, and provide education about mental health and mental health needs. Other medical providers at UB Health Services are trained to focus on physical well-being and function.
The Counseling Services office strives to be the first call made for any issue relating to emotional state, dealing with stress, handling a crisis, or coping with the transition to college.Located at 120 Richmond Quad, the office is easily accessible to freshmen living in the North Campus dorms, according to Andrea Greenwood, a psychologist and assistant clinical director at Counseling Services.
“UB Counseling Services is staffed by 17 full-time psychologists and social workers, three full time pre-doctoral psychology interns, two consulting psychiatrists, and up to 14 part-time graduate students in clinical mental health training programs who are supervised by full-time staff,” Greenwood said.
Wellness Education Services
UB offers Wellness Education Services in an office located at 114 Student Union.
“About 100 students per day visit the Wellness Suite…about 25 [of them] are freshmen,” said Sherri Darrow, director of Wellness Education Services. “However, Wellness also interacts with about 1,000 freshmen each fall as part of their UB101 class experience.”
The Wellness Center runs interactive workshops about alcohol and nutrition, runs life and learning workshops such as yoga and cultural cooking, and holds dinners for LGBT students. All of these resources combined keep the staff of eight professionals and 35 studentmleaders busy, as it interacts with approximately 10,000 students each semester, according to Darrow.
“Most of the problems first-year students experience are related to adjusting to college life,” Darrow said. “That is, balancing their school work and social life, learning about and accessing campus resources that can assist them with their new challenges, and for some, being in a new culture that can be quite different from the environment of high school and their home communities.”
The office offers programs and services to assist with these challenges and opportunities, in areas including reducing high-risk drinking, preventing rape and sexual assault, eating well and getting physical activity, and how to build a healthy community.
There are one-on-one interactions, small group workshops, and classes available to students who wish to meet with staff at Wellness Education Services. When it’s needed, students are referred to Counseling Services at 120 Richmond or Health Services in Michael Hall.
“Some students relax in the Wellness Suite for a respite from their busy day, they might stop by for a free cup of tea, to read a magazine or to get a chair massage,” Darrow said. “Other students benefit from checking in at our LGBT Drop-In Center or having a healthy snack at our weekly Snackin’ Tuesday event.”
In general, the staff is there to listen and refer, but also contribute to opportunities for students to interact with other UB students by working together, relaxing together, and advocating for each other, according to Darrow.
The Wellness Center differs from Michael Hall and counseling services. Wellness focuses on prevention and health promotion, addressing environmental issues, policies, and community building, in addition to individual behaviors and health.
When students enter UB, a major concern is what to do if they wake up feeling ill. Being sick away from home can be frightening and finding a doctor that knows you well may not be easy.
Student Health Services offers healthcare to any registered UB student, regardless of the type of insurance plan he or she holds.