Thoughts on Hurst mental health services

Alexis Lovewell, Staff Writer

With all of the stress that is taken on by college students, it is important to have a good support system for them to go to. At Mercyhurst University, the Counseling Center provides confidential, professional counseling at no charge to the students. The Counseling Center is able to assist students with many problems they may be facing, like peer or family relationships, depression, anxiety/stress, alcohol dependency or other substance abuse, eating disorders, anger management, grief, loss or trauma. The mission of the Counseling Center is to promote a balance of mind, body and spirit that is necessary for all students to achieve their full student potential. The counselors help students understand and process the various changes happening around them and help them find ways to cope and self-reflect on how these changes may be affecting them.

The Counseling Center tries to help students acquire skills and knowledge necessary to help take their current struggles and transform them into healthier ways of living. The Counseling Center also has a pet companion named Bailey who is used as the school’s therapy dog. Bailey has been around Mercyhurst since 2012 and can be seen in counseling sessions or just relaxing in the waiting room to make the student feel more comfortable. Now, although the Counseling Center provides all of these services, has it been effective for students during these last few semesters that have been full of change and stress? I believe that the Counseling Center truly is there to help all students with any issue that may be at hand. The counselors are very flexible and make sure to meet with every student to offer some advice and/or help. If one session did not give a student enough answers or solutions, the counselors are glad to meet with them again to continue their discussion. From an anonymous source, I was able to get this quote explaining the counselors’ dedication to their patients: “the counselors make sure to keep in touch with all of the people that they meet with to make sure there are not any other issues at hand.”

I believe the only issue with the Counseling Center is the lack of understanding and knowledge between the student body and the center itself. I conducted a survey on social media asking Mercyhurst students to rate their knowledge of the Counseling Center services on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being little to no knowledge and 10 being you know everything. Based on the survey, on average students rated their knowledge of the Counseling Center a 4.8. With this information I think it is important for the Counseling Center, faculty, staff and students that have already used the Counseling Center to educate and recommend the Counseling Center to students of all years. Students should be aware of the Counseling Center, how they conduct their meetings with students and the mission of the Counseling Center here at Mercyhurst. Another anonymous source talked a little bit about why they have not used the Counseling Center in the past.“I know that Mercyhurst does have a Counseling Center, but I have not ever used their services because I am not sure how to approach the counselors or the staff there.”I do believe that the Counseling Center at Mercyhurst is very efficient and helps a lot of students, but the student body needs to be more informed on the various services offered at the Counseling Center and know that it is a safe place to go to.

Any student can book an appointment with the Counseling Center by calling 814-824-3650 or emailing the counseling center through their Mercyhurst email. The hours of operation of the Counseling Center are Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Counselors meet over Zoom and in person with students due to the difficulties of the pandemic. Don’t hesitate to book an appointment even if you think the issue at hand is minor. The counselors are willing to help any student find solutions to any problem they may be facing.