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Counseling and Health Services believes that a student’s ability to thrive in all areas of college life depends on having good mental and physical wellness. Therefore, we strive to provide high quality mental and physical health services, as well as outreach and education, in a safe and welcoming environment. Our services are grounded in a holistic perspective of health that individualizes treatment. We value and help students foster empowerment, access education, build empathy, thrive in diversity and work towards collaborative, positive social action. We aid students in achieving and maintaining their optimal health through collaboration and with the highest degree of integrity and respect.
The Counseling Center team holds a keen awareness of the historical and ongoing systemic inequities within mental and physical health care. These inequities have created health disparities within historically marginalized communities and disproportionately decrease access to mental and physical health care. The Counseling Center is guided by professional ethical codes, and a commitment to mental wellness that guide each of us individually and as a team to learn about, discuss, and challenge oppressive systems with a goal of increasing equity and healing for underserved communities.
- We challenge ourselves, our systems, and work to decolonize mental health, promote social justice, and dismantle mental health stigma.
- We strive to promote healing, radical resilience, and self and community empowerment by providing tailored and individualized supportive treatment options for all students.
- We are accountable in our commitment to social justice
- We strive to create a space that is affirming and safe for all Wheaton students
Counseling services are evidence-based, best practice therapeutic interventions and structures for emerging adults within a higher education setting. We follow state and federal ethical, licensure and legal requirements for provision of services and focus on meeting students we work with, where they are at. The Counseling Center offers a variety of FREE services, including but not limited to:
- Emergency same day crisis evaluation, and intervention and referrals when necessary
- Short-term, solution focused counseling
- Case management (referrals to off campus providers, groups, psychiatry, etc.)
- Referrals to telehealth through Mantra Health
- Alcohol/drug consultation and referrals
- Outreach and educational programs, workshops, consultation and trainings for departments, groups and individuals on campus
- Referrals for medication evaluations
Ultimately, it is an individual student’s decision whether or not to accept the professional recommendations of clinical staff. Clinicians value self-determination, personal choice and voluntary participation in addressing concerns and problems.
Risks/Benefits of Counseling
There are benefits and risks associated with counseling. On the one hand, most individuals who receive counseling indicate feeling healthier, happier and better off after receiving supportive counseling than they did before beginning on this journey. However, risks to counseling might include experiencing uncomfortable feelings like sadness, guilt, anger, anxiety, frustration or having difficulties with other people during and/or after counseling. Some changes may lead to what seems to be worsening of circumstances (for example, counseling will not necessarily help to keep a relationship intact). Thus, no guarantees are made that counseling will absolutely help a student. Our counselors are aware of these benefits/risks and are always prepared to discuss student experiences with.
Confidentiality in the Counseling Center
The Counseling Center staff consider issues of student privacy and confidentiality to be of utmost importance. State law mandates that services offered at the Counseling Center are confidential. This means that we will not release information about a student–or even acknowledge whether we know a student, or whether a student is being seen–without that student’s express written consent.
Communications between a student and therapist are not shared with others outside of the Counseling Center without the student’s written permission, except under the following circumstances according to Massachusetts law where clinicians are legally required to take action to ensure safety:
- When a clinician believes a student presents an imminent risk to themselves, another individual, or the community, we are required to take necessary steps to protect against that risk. This may include further assessment at an emergency room, notification of concern to family, individual identified at risk, or administration at Wheaton.
- When an underage child, or disabled individual or elderly person is experiencing abuse, neglect or exploitation, we are required by law to inform the appropriate state agency. This includes any minor siblings and disabled/elderly family members at home.
- In the event of a court order or other mandatory legal process, we may be required to release records to the court.
Counseling Center records are kept completely separate from all other college records. The Counseling Center maintains all counseling records in a secure, confidential electronic medical record and the only individuals with access to these records are Counseling Center staff. The Counseling Center therapists consult with each other, as needed, in order to provide quality care. Consultation with other licensed mental health professionals is also permitted for the purpose of quality care, as long as no identifying information is provided. In addition, as a training site, trainees at the Counseling Center are provided intensive supervision from Counseling Center staff and qualified faculty supervisors at their respective graduate program.
What is Case Management?
There may be instances in which emotional, psychological or behavioral needs can be better addressed by an outside provider. In this case, the Counseling Center will refer a student to our on-site case manager.
Case management referrals may include:
- Off-campus professionals who provide a particular area of expertise; more frequent and/or intensive level of care; or conditions requiring a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to care
- Psychiatric medication management
- Telehealth counseling with a current provider at home
- Twelve Step/Recovery groups (e.g. AA, AL Anon)
- intensive out-patient programs
- in-patient hospitalization
Case Management appointments entail discussing the following: preferences and needs for a specific therapist or treatment recommendation, transportation, insurance and copays, , and any other pertinent information necessary. The case manager will help students to research and identify providers that fit these specifications, and offer to help connect students with that clinician or service. Our case manager will continue to follow up until the student is connected with a provider or no longer wishes to receive case management services.
What is Mantra Health?
Wheaton College partners with Mantra Health, a telehealth provider, to give students more options for mental health care through the university. By enrolling in Mantra, students can connect virtually to licensed master’s level therapists to address their unique needs during daytime, evenings, or weekend hours.
Students can be referred to Mantra Health by the Counseling Center. Please speak with a clinician or case manager at the Counseling Center to discuss if Mantra Health is right for you.
Outreach and Education
The Wheaton College Counseling Center provides a wide range of programs, workshops, and training for students, faculty, and staff. The Counseling Center hosts one major event per semester, Fresh Check Day in the Fall and Spring into Wellness in the Spring. The Counseling Center offers general mental health education and resource overview but can also develop individualized training and programming based on specific topics and needs.
If you are interested in partnering with the Counseling Center on a program, workshop, or training, please complete the Counseling Center Outreach Request Form (login required). To accommodate the campus community and provide as many opportunities as our staff can, we require TWO WEEKS advance notice to help us prepare and provide quality education. Once we receive your request we will review it and get back to you as soon as we are able.
Accessibility in the Counseling Center
The Counseling Center building is not ADA accessible and thus students with mobility needs may not be able to access the building. Students with accessibility needs may call the Counseling Center at 508-286-3905 to discuss their needs with a clinician. An alternate accessible location on campus is available and can be utilized for in-person appointments for students with accessibility needs.