Counseling Services & Resources are Available on Campus


Kim Barroga

View of Counseling Services Building from Eiben Hall

A 21-year-old female, now a senior student at Chaminade, struggled with high levels of depression throughout her junior year of college.

Beginning phases of her depression began with overwhelming affects to the “outside.” Jessie elaborates the “outside” during an interview in September, with experiences of not being aware of her outside surroundings.

(To protect the privacy and wishes of the student, who asked that her name be withheld, the story will refer to her as “Jessie.”)

Similar occurrences took place during her part-time job where Jessie worked retail and did not keep up with the duties directed by her manager. She was constantly reminded to keep up and claimed numerous times of wanting to be off into her own world. She went through extreme low points of depression from a duration of five to six months. Jessie would find herself sitting around and staring off for long periods of time. From small effects of her schoolwork, her depression eventually caught up and affected her performance in class.

“I guess a lot would come into my mind and it would make me feel really sad and I didn’t wanna cry in front of the whole class so I would leave, go the bathroom and come back,” Jessie said. She also claims there were times she did not want to attend class but “I went to school, because of my parents, I didn’t go to class and just hung out. It happened a lot last semester.”

Jessie was hesitant about seeking therapy but eventually sought initial help from the Chaminade De-Stress Zone during her junior year. Last semester, she visited the center every day that it was open, especially during her lunch breaks and her free time in between classes. These visits motivated her to later go to an off-campus counselor, but Chaminade offers many resources from the Counseling Services to the De-stress Zone for students to utilize.

The Counseling Center is located in the student support services building and started a Resource Center (De-Stress zone) in Henry Hall 209, during Fall 2016. In recent years the counseling services offered a suicide prevention program that was funded by a grant. After the program ended the De-stress Zone was branched and created. It is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and offers free coffee and snacks. Ongoing activities from arts and crafts to relaxing therapy activities are available for everyone.

“The idea we’re trying to put out there is that the Counseling Services is a resource to help,” said Allison Jerome – the Dean of Students who currently serves as director of Retention, Advising and Career Preparation – also works closely with the counseling services.

“[Students] shouldn’t feel afraid to go in there. We realize that life happens and in the course of four years, something may come up or it just maybe you’re having an extra tough month.”

Krista C., an intern for the Counseling Services, stated the De-Stress Zone is a “space for anyone who just wants to take a time to relax and unwind or anyone who has time before class, wants somewhere to sit, and if anyone is stressed out about anything, they can come in here and have [a] non-judgmental listening ear.”

The De-Stress Zone is an open atmosphere for students who are not so sure who to talk to or where to start. There is a staff member available to help and direct individuals to additional assistance or refer individuals to the counseling services.

“Some students solely may feel going to the Counseling Center [or services] is kind of a stigma and they feel, ‘I don’t want anyone to know’ and it’s totally fine, everybody’s privacy and confidentiality is respected through the counseling center,” Jerome said.

Confidentiality is a respected part of the Counseling Services ethics. The staff understands that students should feel comfortable talking about private and revealing information and have a safe place to talk about anything they’d like, without the fear of information leaving the building.

Positive experiences with the De-Stress Zone have allowed students to relax, get away, and open up their thoughts.

“The counselor there was very understanding; he didn’t judge but he also gave me some advice, [and] different tips,” Jessie said. “He was also patient.”

Residential Life, Student Affairs, and other offices on campus work closely with the Counseling services to make sure the students’ well-being is kept at the forefront. Faculty and staff may also have concerns about a student, and the offices work together to direct individuals to the right resources and services.

“Whatever the difficulty may be. Sometimes it’s the just the matter a student telling someone to help get that weight off of them, and that’s what we’re there for,” Jerome said. ”That’s what all of the resources are there for to help students reach their academics goals, in whatever way that might be.

Now a senior, Jessie sees a therapist and services outside of Chaminade weekly. Her depression levels “are not as bad but I do still get depressed from time to time but it’s not as constant.” She still enjoys visiting the De-Stress Zone when she has free time.

There are many resources on campus in addition to the Counseling center with the same idea that it’s a resource to help and students should not shy away from.

“I would tell students that if they are going through a rough situation or rough time, to not hesitate to reach out to someone,” Jerome said, “because if you’re experiencing something personally that’s challenging, obviously it can have an impact on your academics and we’re here to help in such situations.”

The Counseling Services offers confidential, individual or couples counseling in the Student Support Services Building in Room 101. The Center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. The services assist students with personal issues including, but not limited to, depression, crisis intervention, self-esteem, loneliness, family concerns, friendships, adjustment to college life, roommates, interpersonal relationships, non-traditional student concerns, and homesickness.

Typically, students are seen for 60 minutes ranging from one to 10 free sessions per semester. In order to qualify for services, the individual or individuals (couple) must be currently enrolled at Chaminade. If needed, some students are referred to off-campus mental health services. Students are seen and handled by a case by case basis. After the initial visit, students will work with a staff member for a follow-up appointment.

“We’re not totally equipped to handle longer term and [the staff] will try to work with the student and whatever health insurance the student has to help refer them to an outside resource,” said Jerome about the services for students after the maximum 10 sessions.

Due to the limited number of staff and demand for the services, students are highly encouraged to call ahead of time to schedule an appointment. The beginning of the year, mid-term, and during finals are always busier. The counseling services also manage ADA accommodations for students. Appointments inquiries can also be made inside the building by leaving contact information at the front desk.

“A lot of students may never utilize certain services including the Counseling center, but it’s good to know that if there is a situation, then it’s there,” Jerome said. “If students don’t know and there’s a crisis situation, we’ll certainly make them aware and refer them.”