Office of Counseling Services

The Office of Counseling Services provides students access to a wide range of treatment modalities and referrals to outside resources as needed. 

Many students face normal developmental concerns as well as personal and academic pressures during their college experience and find that it is helpful to discuss these issues in a supportive, professional and confidential environment.

Description of the video:

Hello. I'm Barbara doll and the director of counseling services at Indiana University Northwest. I am coming to you today to talk about to use counseling services in a presentation that we call. I'm counseling one-on-one, stand up to stigma. And let's talk about mental health. Going to share my screen now to begin the PowerPoint that we use when we talk about this topic, when we do this presentation. The first thing I want to let you know is the IU Northwest Office of counseling services. We are still here for you. I'm willing to listen and to help. I want to tell you a little bit about our services. They are free as long as you are enrolled, at least on a part-time basis. You are eligible to use our services free of charge, and our services are strictly confidential. The hallmark of a well-run counseling office, whether it's on the IU Northwest campus or in the greater community at large is confidentiality. People want to know that the information that they are providing to a counselor will remain confidential and not be shared with others. You have that assurance using our office. The only way that we ever share any information about any student who uses our office is if there is a threat to the safety of that student's life, the safety of the life of someone on the campus community, or the safety of someone in the community at large. Other than that, you will be assured of confidentiality. The way that we capture data is through a software program that is unique to the desktop of only those employees in the counseling office. If yours situation or the problem that you have presented is beyond the scope of practice that we would offer. To be clear, we operate within a scope of practice according to our level of licensure or level of training and our level of expertise. Anytime a student attempts to use our office with an issue that is beyond our scope of practice. We will refer that student to an outside provider that consist of a robust community network provider that we use. We do not. Encourage students to assume my problem is too big for the counseling office. We encourage you to give us a call or send us an email by way of an example. And this list is not exclusive. Substance abuse and addictions. Court-ordered treatment and eating disorders are three things that we would refer out because those things do require a more specific and longer term modality of treatment. Often people ask us, well, how do I know? If I even need to see the professional mental health services of a counselor. I will talk about that a little later. When I talk about the things or reasons that people use our Office for. The modality of treatment that we offer is short-term counseling. That a solution oriented, short-term, meaning ten sessions per academic year. The academic year is from August until May. We do not provide couples counseling or family counseling. So the services that we provide at the IU Northwest Office of counseling services are individual sessions. It we do have some psychoeducational groups. In the past, we have had specific women groups. We also have mindful meditation groups, resiliency groups, just to name a few. Going back to the reason that someone would ask, Do I know what I need to use counseling services? These are some common concerns that we have presented US from students who have used our service. Depression, anxiety, and stress are the three main reasons that students, not only at the Indiana University Northwest Office of counseling services, like counseling offices throughout other campuses. And I know this because that data has been captured. Depression, anxiety, and stress. So if you're feeling that way, that's very common and you should consider using our service. Some other things that students come to use our office for a relationship issues, being an unhealthy relationship, trying to determine if I am in a healthy relationship. Family difficulties. We all come from a family and whether we are in constant contact with that family, or we only see them every now and again. Sometimes those relationships can be difficult and may cause us to need counseling, academic concerns. That goes without saying if you are suffering from depression, excuse me, anxiety. I apologize. Relationship issues that are causing you to think about those things. More than anything else, your thoughts are consumed. Could impact your academic pursuits. And a very significant way to where you may not be getting the grades that you had been striving for that you're used to getting excuse me. So by all means, I would encourage you to think about using our office if you are struggling academically and it's because of some emotional concerns that you're heading test anxiety. I talked about just generalized anxiety in the beginning. But there are students who do very well with homework, with group presentations were individual presentations. When it comes to tests, they freeze, they get very nervous and they don't do as well as they would be able to demonstrate if they did not had that test anxiety. We work with students who have that as well. Poor coping skills. Problems happen, life happens. Things happen when we don't want them to happen. How we manage our emotions and cope with those things. Have everything to do with having attained resiliency. That's a topic that we have had a group about and we can help you build your coping skills. Now, I would be remiss if I did not talk about the current situation in which we are all living because we are in a global pandemic At this time. I want to talk about specific emotional wellness during COBIT 19. We are in a pandemic because this is a presentation that I normally and typically would do in person. And I know that I will do it in person at some point when it's safe again. But for right now, I am grateful for the technology. But talking about the range of emotions that we could all have. We're in. This pandemic is very important. It is important that I acknowledge right now that there is no right way to feel. The range of emotions could include anger, fear, anxiety, stress, uncertainty, all very normal. It's important for you to acknowledge on any given day or at any given time how the pandemic might be impacting you in that wide range of emotions. I'm encouraging my clients that I'm currently working with were struggling with this, is to quote, prescribe yourself the correct dosage of information by not becoming saturated with all of the different ways that we have in 2020 of getting our information. We had news outlets, we have social media, we had apps that we can go to. And while those things are all very useful and timely in many ways, during this pandemic that might be too emotionally consuming, an overwhelming. The Centers for Disease Control, the CDC, and the World Health Organization, WHO are excellent websites to visit for information that is, update, accurate, and correct. Staying up to date locally is very important. So in terms of what's going on academically, what do you need to know? As a student on the IU Northwest campus? You may stay on top of that by checking your emails for the guidance and verbiage that is being said to us through our IU emails, as well as visiting and reading the daily RED HOT, which comes to us every day, obviously, as well as That would be useful information. Maintain balance and perspective. It is so important during any crisis, but certainly during a health crisis that we do not have control over. By reminding yourself about the positive and healthy priorities, things, people, and places that you have in your life that can be good relationships that you're in. You might have a very robust and intact support system that would be good if you do. You're in college because you have some long-term career goals, some educational goals focus on those. You may even be connected to religious or spiritual practices. Those are all very healthy things that you can look at to maintain that balance and perspective. During this very uncertain time. Engage in self-care. Which might include maybe taking it online yoga class, doing some mindful meditation. Which by the way, if you go to our website, you will find that there are some audio meditations that you can do at any time. If you can't sleep at two in the morning, just go to our website and listen to the mindful meditation. Making. You get enough sleep based on the amount of sleep that you need. That can vary from person to person. Having a very appropriate diet, staying on a schedule. Those are self-care things that don't cost any money and that you can pay attention to and do on a regular basis all the time. But they are very critical during a time of uncertainty that we're in right now. One of those things could also be seeking the services of a therapist through our office or in the community. We certainly encourage you to take care of your emotional self during cove at 19. Some common questions that we have about an office that provides mental health counseling on a college campus. Why have counseling services on a college campus? Why not? I always ask. Because you are moving through a time in your life where you just aren't certain about everything, your major may change. Your relationships with the Signet. Significant other may change your anxiety about being a college. Those are all things that we can help you sort out. So having a counseling center on a college campus is a really good thing. Uses it and why? Why do people go? Everybody, from freshman to senior to graduate students? Everybody is eligible to use our service. And I talked about the why when I talked about some of the common reasons that people use our service, how much does it cost? It doesn't cost you a thing. It is again free. It is again, Confidential. How many times may I see a counselor if I decide that I want to use this from August until May, which is considered the academic calendar, the academic year. You could see a counselor ten times, and that's not including the intake session, which would be the time that we would spin. Gathering very useful background information, helping you set up some goals and seeing how you might use counseling in your life if you want to use it is it is a voluntary service. Just because you had an intake session. It does not mean that you have to use all ten sessions. You may use up to ten sessions. A common question, My parents are paying for college, won't they find out that I'm using counseling services because after all, they are paying for it. While it's very gracious and a good thing that your parents are paying for your college, that does not make them privy to your counseling information. Should you use to use service? As I said earlier, this is a confidential service. The only way that we could ever discuss that we're seeing a student in our office is if there is, again, a threat to the safety of that student's life or the safety of someone else's life. Other than that, if you would what us to verify with someone or you would want us to share information with the community provider. You may sign a release of information. Other than that, it's all confidential even if your parents are paying for your college. I'm majoring in nursing or a career law enforcement. Won't that look bad if they asked for a background screening and they see that I used counseling. Absolutely not. Many companies in this day and time have what is called an Employee Assistance Program, an EAP, that is a counseling program for employees. So if a company or law enforcement agency, a healthcare facility would have that for their employees, there would very likely not be any stigma associated with that company or that agency knowing that you've ever received counseling while you were in college. Let's talk specifically about counseling services and college students developmentally, the young adult years. They are a time where there's just a higher increase for mental health issues such as depression, anxiety. And why is that? Because we just don't know everything that we are doing. When were that age? When I've done this presentation in-person and again, I look forward to a time when I will be able to do that. But for right now, we're going to stay safe and social distance and give you the opportunity to see this through the technology. I always talk about. I didn't have it all together when I was in college. You know, by the time I furthered my education in graduate school, I. Sorta kinda, but certainly not necessarily in college because there's so many things you're figuring out how to individuate from your parents. Is this relationship that you're in, is it going to work out? Is your high school relationship going to survive college? What if I start taking these classes in college and I don't like these classes is so now I may need to change my major. I don't want to live in my parents home anymore, so I need to move out. So just a lot of things that could happen at this time. So developmentally, if you feel like you want to use counseling services, now would be a good time because you will be in good company, not just in 20-20, but way back when when I was in college, I talked about this earlier, so I'm not going to be labor it, but stress, anxiety, and depression are reasons that students use our office. So let's talk about what are the benefits, the positive benefits from utilizing counseling services. There are several. The first of which is better overall emotional adjustment. You feel more in control if you are addressing problems in your life? Not that we have control over everything. We don't like I said earlier, we're in a global pandemic and we can exercise some control. But in terms of the pandemic being global, we have no control over that. But when we do have control over our sales, we feel better. We feel better about our emotional adjustment. And increase satisfaction with inter-personal relationships. If you're depressed or you're angry all the time, or you're just on edge and you're really anxious, that's going to likely impact negatively the and inter-personal up close relationships we have with our spouses, with our parents, with our best friends, our coworkers. And so when you begin to address those issues, you will probably find, and they will certainly see that you probably are operating at a better level than you were when you were struggling with this problem. This is underlined because it's so very important. Higher academic success and retention so that you may stay in college to graduate from college. You are here primarily because of the degree you are seeking and your pursuit of getting that knowledge and training for your lifelong career. If you are consumed and overwhelmed by personal issues that are creating emotional disregulation and psychological stress. It stands to reason that you won't do as well. So what are the benefits from coming to use counseling services is higher academic success and retention. And from a report from University of Idaho back in 2090% of those persons. Us counseling services say at that engaging in that process help them to achieve their overall goals. So there is help and there are good reasons to use counseling services. We're going to talk about a couple of current statistics and focus in a little bit on one of the topics of this presentation, stamping out stigma and talking about mental health. While one in five people live with a mental health condition, it is estimated that nearly two-thirds of all those people with a diagnosable mental illness do not seek treatment. And that can be especially an issue with people from diverse communities, meaning African-Americans, Latinos, et cetera. And so if these people have, are living with a mental health condition, but they are not seeking help for it. Why is that? Lack of knowledge? Negative stereotypes, fear of disclosure, rejection of France, and discrimination about having a mental health issue. Or just a few reasons why people don't seek help. In a word. Stigma. People believe that if someone knows that they are using counseling services or that they sought out the assistance of a mental health professional. Whether it's a psychiatrist or a therapist, that people will judge them, that they will be discriminated against. We have examples of persons with celebrity status, famous people, names that you will recognize who have struggled with and at, they have a struggle with mental health issues. A few of whom I will mentioned, have even taken their life because they struggled so mightily with a mental health concern. The screen actor and comedian Robin Williams took his own life. Several years ago. Kate Spade, the very famous and successful designer, took her own life several years ago. And just a few weeks after that, well-known Chef, Anthony more Dane took his own life. These were people who seem to be in a place where they were successful. They were well-known, but they still were struggling and took their own lives. That is when I find as a mental health practitioner, the conversation about taking care of your mental health and just talking about mental health disorders. It takes on a very robust dialogue. We talk about it, we see it in print media, we see it in visual meatus media such as television. We see it in social media, and sometimes it encourages others, whether they are celebrities or not, to take to social media and talk about their own mental health struggles. And that's a very good thing. But Stops, it trails off and we don't talk about it anymore. People should not have to take their lives for us to talk about something that is very common. We all have mental health, just like we all have health. Sometimes our mental health can cause us problems in the same way that we might have diabetes. We might have hypertension, we might have asthma, arthritis. But there's no shame in going to see a medical professional, a medical practitioner. But there he is with seeing a mental health practitioner. And I don't mind talking about it. That's what this presentation is about. So I the discourage you strongly. If you're struggling with depression, anxiety, or just feel like you need someone to talk to. Don't let anyone shame you into thinking you shouldn't. Don't let anyone talk you out of your own agency of taking control of your own mental health. The help is out here. As an IU Northwest student enrolled at least on a part-time basis. It is free and it is confidential. So don't let anyone shame you on that. That is myself box. I step up on it whenever I do this presentation Now I'm going to step down and get back to what I was talking about. But that this very important, it is very important and passionate about it. So let's talk about those general misconceptions about mental health. What stops people from getting the help that they need? Oftentimes people think depression and anxiety aren't real problems. You could fix that, just open up your blinds, get some sunshine, go exercise where brighter clothes and well, family and friends, maybe barry Will meeting and saying those things. They're not the answer. Where someone who's struggling with a clinical depression with generalized anxiety that are diagnosable, that's not helpful. It's well meaning It's not helpful. People who have mental health issues or week. You should be able to figure that out yourself. You're smart. You are capable. Why can't you figure that out? Well, because I can't figure out if I slip on the ice, I can't set my ankle back the way that it needs to be because I'm not trained in that profession. So it's not about weakness. It's about having a real issue that you need a real professional to help you sort through. Another misconception about mental health is that people living with a psychological disorder, often violent. That is quite the opposite. Only 1% of the general population has a severe psychiatric diagnosis. People who have mental health issues are not necessarily violent. I am not saying that some disorders, some diagnoses have violence associated with them, that could happen. But that's not a general rule. And we need to go beyond thinking. Sometimes people who are violent are violent because they have anger management issues. Because they have hate within themselves. It's not necessarily a mental health disorder. Mental health professionals will control your life. They'll tell you what to do. You go to them and before you know it, you're robotic. That is so not true. Not at the IU Northwest Office of counseling services nor from any reliable at the coal trade mental health professional. We help you sort out your issues and problems that you have identified by incorporating interventions that can work in your life to improve your quality of life. Not about control at all. The last general misconception about mental health that I'll talk about is oftentimes people say, oh, I'll just talk to my friend. Counseling is the same as talking to my friend. It really isn't. Your friend loves you, your friend cares about you. But often time your friend is going to tell you what they think you want to hear. A licensed therapist is going to tell you what is clinically sound in an ethical and compassionate way. And that is what we often need. I'm going to briefly talk about some common myths about the Office of counseling services specific to things people have said to us when we've action or what was your barrier to using this service if you had wanted to use it and didn't. I'm only crazy or sick people go to the offices of counseling services. I'm majoring in psychology or I'm majoring in sociology. I'm not crazy, I shouldn't go there. That's not true. All students can benefit from the services, just sorting things out. Sometimes people say, you know what, I didn't know if actually come because other people have real problems. This isn't a real problem. And the truth of the matter is any struggle or problem that you're having. Whether it's about your academics or it's about personal. And is keeping you awake at night, or it's affecting your appetite, or it's consuming your thoughts, then it's a problem for you. I cannot deny that some issues are far more intense than others, but it does not matter if it's a problem for you, then you should use our service. If I go to the counseling office, they that's a sign of failure. You know, I should be able to figure this out myself. You showed it. Again. Beginning counseling is a sign of commitment to your own growth, your own success in life. It is a way of maximizing your potential in life and recognizing, I don't have all the answers. I need help sometimes and we all do. And that's something that we should all wrap our minds around. True thing. I have had clients who are older than 30, which is not old, but they see themselves as and to be able to figure this out, I'm too old to come here. I should have figured this out ten years ago. Not true. There is no such thing as the ideal time to go to counseling. You can have problems throughout your course of life, throughout all stages of development, we can experience mental health issues that would require would benefit from seeing a mental health practitioner. And last but not least, again, true, counseling is only for white people. Everybody can go to counseling, I guess not just for white people. It's for people who are having problems. And you should use Counseling. No matter what your race, creed or color is. If you feel as though you are struggling. Mental health challenges. So what is the flip side of stigma? Let's talk about some positive things that will help us think more open-minded and help those that we're round to think more open-minded about mental health and help us take that step into getting help if we needed. Mental health is as real and important as other physical health conditions. Most people, not all, but most people, would not ignore a grinding headache, a consistent and chronic upset stomach. Or back to my example earlier, if they slip on the ice or just take a bad step, pain and swelling. Most people are not going to ignore that. They're going to go and see a medical health professional. Why wouldn't you go and do the same if you have a problem that's consuming. The prevalence and risk of emotional slash mental health issues is higher during college years I see at that stage of development. So it makes sense to ask for help at this time still trying to figure things out. That's not to say that once we graduate, life is easy-peasy after that, no, that's another stage of development where we might need to get more counseling. But certainly at this time, peer support is invaluable and we know that and that is why we have some groups we offer on campus and we will be rolling those out through the technology even though we will not be together physically in order to stay safe and healthy. There is hope and there is help. We don't ever want you to think, oh, my problem is too serious for the counseling office or they won't be able to help me. We may not be able to say at that earlier, we operate ethically within our scope of practice. But we have a robust provider, community network providers that are will vet it and we can refer you to those persons. Counseling provides a supportive and nonjudgmental environment, no judgment and counseling. We help you to get back to your level of functioning where you can do well in your classes, graduate, and live your life. So you can help by sigma, whether it's about your own mental health or someone who you know and love. So here are some simple and quick tips from me, which is the National Association for mental illness. Use respectful language. Let's not call people names that are derogatory and associated with having a struggle with their mental health. That's not helpful. It's not kind and it's certainly disrespect. You can become an advocate for friend slash family member. You may have been that person would say it. Oh, you don't have anything to be sad about. Where brighter, close. Let's go out. But now, hopefully from looking at this presentation and listening to this presentation, you understand that while you are trying to help them, is well-meaning but is not necessarily helpful. So you may want to go back to that person or go back to yourself and not be so hard on yourself. Be an advocate and say, I don't fully understand what you're going through, but I want to support you. I want to help you, however, I can educate others about mentally. Again, don't laugh at jokes where people are mocking others because they have mental health challenges. Don't use those derogatory words that have historically or culturally been used to describe versus struggling with a mental health issue and don't perpetuate those stereotypes. You know, if you hear someone say, oh, all crazy people kill people, help them out. Helped them out. Tell them that, that they need to do some homeworks of research to learn more about a population that maybe they are not part of, but they should not judge and use those stereotypes to describe them. So this is counseling one-on-one. I gave you some ways that you can use our counseling office. And during this time, the path to getting help is a little different. And there's obviously no room for questions or comments because this is a video. But you can send your questions or comments by calling the number that's on the screen, 2199806741 or emailing us at IU and OCS at IU That is a way that you can become a client during this time, we are still providing counseling through zoom, which again, is a telehealth format that is HIPAA compliant that IU is providing for us. You should send your request to the email address. Someone will get back with you to ask you for more specific information that is identifiable to associate you with the university, such as your university ID, number, date of birth, those types of things. And then you will get a call from someone to do a telephone assessment to determine the best mode of intervention or the best treatment modality and the inset up telehealth appointments for you. So please do yourself a favor. And if you feel like you need to use counseling services or if you're on the fence about it, send us an email. We can give you a call, we'll talk about it and help you out. Thank you for listening.

Often, personal problems such as anxiety, depression, and lack of coping skills (to name a few) may present and hinder academic growth and success. Students who recognize these problems may use the Office of Counseling Services to learn and/or enhance skills to deal more effectively with problems that may be interfering with academic success and personal well being.

Office Hours

Monday - Friday: 8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.

Closed: Noon – 1 P.M.   

Phone Number

(219) 980-6741

Fax Number

(219) 981-5605

Email Address

*Email is not to be used for urgent or emergency messages and is not considered the most secure form of communication.

Mailing Address

The Office of Counseling Services
IU Northwest
3400 Broadway
Hawthorn Hall, Rm 201
Gary, IN 46408