For many students at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, the Counseling and Testing Center, located at 2016 Centennial Hall, serves as a valuable resource. The Counseling and Testing Center website says “Students seek Personal Counseling…to get help with resolving conflicts, solving problems, handling crisis situations, making decisions, understanding self, understanding others, and developing better coping skills.” Additionally, the website says, “they also come in to address concerns about their own or a friend’s alcohol or drug use, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and so much more.”
Personal counseling sessions are also free to UWL students, making it easier for students to seek the help they need. “Mental health is still pretty stigmatized in our generation, and the Counseling and Testing Center really attempts to normalize counseling and provide a safe environment for students,” said Heidi Pullen, the Senior Staff Member at Sanford Hall. “It’s on-campus. Lots of students don’t have vehicles, so for the Counseling and Testing Center to be on campus is amazing because no one has to figure out how to get there.”
However, students often have to wait a month or more to get an appointment at the Counseling and Testing Center. “When I first went in to make an appointment in the middle of October, I wasn’t able to actually go into an appointment for a month and that was just the consulting appointment,” said a junior student at UWL, who wishes to remain anonymous. “I waited three weeks after the consulting appointment to meet with an actual counselor. From the time I initially went in to schedule an appointment to the time I met with an actual counselor was six and a half weeks.”
This wait time can be damaging for students waiting for an appointment. “Waiting so long for an appointment can mean a continual feeling of depression and anxiety without explanation,” said the anonymous student. “Also, waiting that long could mean you keep feeling terrible without ways to improve.”
“Last semester, I had an incident occur to someone very close to me and I was helping them during the incident,” said Pullen. After the incident, she decided to set up an appointment at the Counseling and Testing Center to talk about what had happened and had to wait a month to see a counselor. “By the time my appointment rolled around, it felt silly to go. So much time had passed, it didn’t really feel important to talk about anymore.”
“In my situation, it was fine that I waited,” said Pullen. “However, some students can’t wait that long because their situation could be much worse.”
Students are clearly utilizing the valuable services offered by the Counseling and Testing Center and seeking professional with their problems. “Overall, I think Counseling and Testing is an amazing resource for everyone, but I wish there wasn’t as long of a wait period to get an appointment,” said the anonymous student. “There are a ton of students on campus and the counselors are doing as much as they can, but I wish there were more of them to help more students and decrease the wait time.”
In addition to personal counseling sessions, the Counseling and Testing Center offers lots of other resources to help students get the help they need. Every Monday and Friday, the Counseling and Testing Center hosts Let’s Talk sessions outside of the Counseling and Testing Center, which don’t require an appointment. The Counseling and Testing Center also hosts group counseling sessions throughout the year, which can be found on their website. Additionally, the Counseling and Testing Center has Urgent Care hours from 2:00-4:00 on weekdays for students experiencing a mental health crisis.
For more information about the Counseling and Testing Center, please visit their website or go to their office at 2106 Centennial Hall. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, please call 911. For a list of After-Hours Care options, please visit the Counseling and Testing Center website.