Making Sense of Mental Health

A glimpse inside the James C. Windsor Counseling Center reveals an effort to cater to the individual student.

With growing concern over mental health on college campuses, an effort to address mental health has become paramount for most universities.

According to Executive Director of Counseling and Health Services William Ritchey, personal investment is the sole cost of coming to the James C. Windsor Counseling Center.

The goals of the center have remained largely consistent since its namesake, James C. Windsor, founded it in the 1970s.

The center was established with the goal to support the academic and personal development of CNU students, whether through dealing with social anxiety, depression or even just adjusting to a new setting.

Since the 1970s, the staff approaches students’ issues differently, because the rate of change in a student’s life has increased.

Whether it’s via technological development, world events or the amount of curriculum in a given course, a student’s life changes much faster.

When a student walks into the center, their first encounter is with the front office staff. After setting up that first meeting, someone will connect the student to an array of resources made available to him or her by the university.

The Counseling Center has offered a consistent range of tools to meet a student’s challenges, and are geared towards their academic and personal growth: consultation, outreach, individual/group counseling and crisis response to name a few.

A clinician approaches something like a patient’s social anxiety, one of the most common problems a college student could have, on a case-by-case basis. One of the better tools used to confront social problems is group counseling.

Working through your anxiety with your peers while a clinician guides the discussion is a very effective method, used by most professionals.

However, the main focus of all CNU endeavors is to have an individualized approach, and that is no different for the Counseling Office. Everybody who comes in, whether freshman, sophomore, junior or senior, has their own experiences, which affects the development of their goals for counseling.

The center uses a semester mindset, much like students, so that when finals week rolls around, the center does not schedule individual counseling, in keeping with their goals for academic success.

This way, a freshman will develop new goals concurrent with the track that their counseling goes.
Ritchey compares the tools used at the Center to the tools used across the country, and sees a burgeoning sensitivity towards the mental wellbeing of college students and people in general.

People are becoming more invested in mental health, and having a student-driven campus helps to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental-health counseling.

These are the steps a student takes when they step foot in the counseling center.

A student looking for assistance may have to give up things that he or she is used to: thoughts, feelings or ways of dealing with situations.

It’s also a cooperative endeavor; one has to co-labor with a counselor to really address any habits and struggles.

The James C. Windsor Counseling Center can be found on the second floor of the Freeman Center, closest to the doors facing Warwick Boulevard.

It is stationed above the University Health and Wellness Center.