OU Counseling Center providing services to students in need

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Maggie Willard

The OU Counseling Center (OUCC) is offering free therapy sessions to OU students.

Arianna Heyman, Features Editor

According to a study done by the American College Health Association, nearly three quarters of students reported struggling with moderate or severe psychological distress. 

Dr. David Schwartz, director of the OU Counseling Center, says that anxiety, imposter syndrome and stress relating to school and performance is more common than people realize. The mental health of students is a worsening issue, and university health clinics like the OU Counseling Center are finding new ways to help their students in need. 

The OU Counseling Center offers a broad range of mental health services to students which include personal counseling, psychological and psychoeducational testing, career testing and counseling, substance abuse evaluation, treatment, and prevention, consultation and outreach and crisis intervention. 

At OU, students are eligible for four free therapy sessions and then must pay a $20 copay for each additional session. 

“I always like to mention this — we work with students who might not be able to afford that $20 if they want to continue meeting beyond the free sessions,” Dr. Schwartz said. “Our policy is we never turn away students for financial reasons.”  

Dr. Schwartz also mentions the benefits of group therapy. OU currently offers six different groups for students to join which are set up as a psychoeducational support mixture. 

“We have a rotating schedule of different topics the groups might have. Our most popular group, for example, is a group for any students who are dealing with anything related to school that is causing them any type of negative impact on their emotional well-being. So it covers topics like study skills, time management, testing anxiety, imposter syndrome — all the very common things that students often struggle with.”

Dr. Schwartz notes that taking advantage of these services is important in order to combat the growing mental health problem among students who suffer in silence more often than not. 

“I think just below 60% of all college students at some point in their college career experience significant or severe depression,” Schwartz said. “When I say significant depression, I mean it’s to the point where it’s actually significantly impacting their functioning either in relationships or school or work.”

Despite the progress, Dr. Schwartz believes our society has a long way to go in order to create an environment where people feel comfortable enough to discuss their suicidal thoughts. 

“One thing we do know is one of the best protective factors that stops people from acting on those thoughts is having somebody ask them about it and being able to talk about it with somebody. When I have my first session with clients, I like to go over this stuff right at the first session just to normalize it.”

Dr. Schwartz also knows that many are wary of therapy and its benefits. He wants to combat the stereotypes that some have about psychologists. 

[People] build up in their mind what is therapy like and they have this picture from movies and television and it’s usually not at all like it. None of us smoke pipes, we don’t all just sit and stare at you –– we’re very charismatic, friendly people [and] we genuinely love talking to people. We love our jobs and most people find that it’s pretty easy to talk to us.”

Most importantly, Dr. Schwartz wants the OU community to know that help is always available for anyone on campus who may be struggling.  

“First and foremost, know that the help is there. The two biggest steps are knowing the help is available, being aware of us and then the biggest step then is knowing that you reach out to us when you need the help.”

To make an appointment with the OU Counseling Center call (248) 370-3465 or for more information visit oakland.edu/oucc/