UB Counseling Services run-down

Counseling Services offers variety of services and resources for students


Darby Swab wants people to know they should not feel scared or embarrassed to seek counseling.

“You don’t need to live life internalizing your mental struggles and problems, no matter how mild. A professional counselor can help you work things out and maybe cope and manage in ways you hadn’t thought of,”Swab, a graduate student in the arts management program said.

UB students can receive up to 14 individual or couples counseling sessions per academic year. While some students seek counseling for mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, students attend counseling for a wide range of reasons. These include: adjusting to a new school, stress, family issues and relationship problems, according to Sharon Mitchell, director of UB’s Counseling Services.

“Counseling allows students to be an active agent in making their emotional health a priority as well an asset that allows them to lead happy, satisfying and productive lives,” Mitchell said.

Students do not need to have a mental health diagnosis to be eligible for counseling through Counseling Services.

“Everyone faces challenges. Counseling equips students with the tools and skills to be resilient in response to those challenges,” Mitchell said.

Bradley Stone, a freshman undecided major sought counseling at UB for help with stress and time management. He said counseling has also helped him maintain healthy routines and connect with social events and clubs at UB.

“If you’re stressed out about school or life in general and you’re willing to buy into it and open up, [counseling] can really make you feel better,” Stone said.

Swab said she likes going to counseling because it’s completely confidential; she feels it is good to have an outlet that cannot affect other people in her life.

“Counseling is a good place to have rants and be able to get professional feedback, or just have someone to listen and know it’s not a burden,” she said.

Swab said it is also important to find a therapist whom she can connect with and feel comfortable opening up to.

“A big thing I’ve learned is that it’s okay if you don’t ‘click’ [with your counselor], and if you don’t, you really need to request a different counselor. They’re there for you so you need to be comfortable,”she said.

Swab said she is very open about the fact that she goes to counseling in hopes others will feel comfortable seeking it out for themselves.

In addition to individual counseling, Counseling Services provides educational programs, crisis intervention services, couples counseling and group counseling. Counseling Services also offers 100 to 200 mental health outreach programs each year. The outreach programs focus on topics such as stress management, improving relationship skills, how to help someone in emotional distress, suicide prevention and eating disorders.

Walk-in crisis hours are available during regular business hours. There is also an on-call counselor available 24/7, 365 days per year.

“The objectives of [crisis appointments or phone calls] are to assess the nature of the crisis, engage in short-term problem-solving, develop a safety plan if necessary and identify next steps which may include scheduling an initial assessment appointment,” Mitchell said.

Counseling Services offers suicide prevention training to hundreds campus community members including RAs and CAs, faculty and staff.

Mitchell said Counseling Services also serves as mental health consultants for the UB campus community.

“If a friend, parent, faculty or staff member is concerned about the emotional well-being of a UB student, they can contact our office to get advice on how to best help that person and to learn about the resources available to the student on or off campus,” Mitchell said.

Swab recognizes going to counseling may seem overwhelming at first, but it is all about taking that first step.

“It’s something you need to get comfortable with at first, and if you can’t go all in and bare your soul right off the bat, that’s totally fine. Just getting there is step one,” Swab said.

Maddy Fowler is an assistant news editor and can be reached at maddy.fowler@ubspectrum.com