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Alternatives to Wellness Center counseling available on and off campus

Laura Merrell

Managing Editor

It’s that time of the semester again. There is a seemingly endless stream of tests, essays and projects, not to mention Junior I.S. to complete or I.S. chapters to turn in. Needless to say, college is stressful. Add issues such as sexual abuse, depression or anxiety and it becomes even harder to get through the day-to-day demands of being a college student. Luckily, the College and wider community have several strong resources for counseling and therapy.

On campus, the College provides students with three counselors: Ray Tucker, Jan Hamill and Anne Ober. Students are allowed five free counseling appointments a semester. After the allotted free visits, a $20 fee is assessed. Appointments are scheduled by phone, but there is a 24-hour hotline for emergencies. Confidentiality when dealing with counselors employed by the College may be a concern for students, but they are protected by state counseling laws. “Counseling records are separate from students’ medical charts and academic records,” according to the policy listed on the Longbrake Wellness Center’s webpage. A grief group for students and a survivor support system for sexual assault victims are also available through the center. However, students often find themselves shut out of counseling appointments for several weeks due to high demand and the small number of staff workers, and they do not know what other choices are available.

There are several alternatives within the larger Wooster community for students who find campus counseling inaccessible. These include The Counseling Center for Wayne and Holmes Counties (CCWHC), STEPS, Every Woman’s House and The Summit Therapy Center. Each counseling service has an informative, updated website with a phone number for scheduling sessions. CCWHC is approximately a six-minute drive away from campus on Benden Drive. It offers help with topics including sexual and physical abuse, anxiety and depression. The center accepts most forms of private insurance, and a sliding fee scale is available to those who qualify.

Downtown Wooster has two specialized counseling centers that share the same location on 104 Spink Street in the Gault Liberty Center. One is Every Woman’s House, which offers family and couples counseling, a crisis hotline, support groups and individual counseling. It focuses on assisting victims of family and sexual abuse. The concept for the program was conceived in 1978 after members of the local community realized there was a dearth of resources for women dealing with domestic violence. If cost is a concern, Every Woman’s House pledges to adjust its fees so no one is turned away.

The second resource at the Liberty Center is STEPS. It is committed to helping individuals with substance abuse issues through treatment and prevention. Its services include individual or group counseling, therapy with medication, a drug program through the local court and live-in treatment. According to STEP’s website, all clinicians have at least a Master’s Degree and all counselors are certified in dealing with chemical dependency.

The Summit Therapy Center, located on the north end, is another source for help. Situated near the campus on Cleveland Road., its three counselors can assist with a variety of concerns, such as managing stress, anxiety, anger or depression. Individual specializations include LGBTQIA+ issues, OCD and life transitions.

As deadlines and exams close in, students should know that they can turn to a variety of mental health options on campus and in Wooster. With many places offering financial assistance, students on a tight budget can find counselors that are close and convenient.

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