The Student Counseling Center (SCC) moved to East Hall just in time for the beginning of the 2023 school year. In past years, counseling services have been available at the Cook House.
Wesley Bruce, the assistant director of the SCC, said the center moved because USD has taken an interest in better providing for students’ mental health.
“The biggest reason [for the move] in the last couple years… the university as a whole has been investing more in student well-being and student mental health,” Bruce said.
Services had previously been offered to students at the Cook House for a decade. In the Cook House, there were only five offices that provided confidential counseling to students, limiting the spots available. However, the new destination offers more space for appointments and counselors.
“Once the dental hygiene program moved out of this building, a lot of the USD leadership identified this as a good spot where we can provide quality therapy offices that have a sound barrier, and it also puts all of us in one place,” Bruce said.
Bruce said that in the past, students would have to travel around campus for counseling. If there were no available counselors in the Cook House, students would have to travel to where their counselors offices were across campus.
“70% of students would go to the Cook House, then 30% would be around campus. Now, we have all our staff under one roof, so it makes it a lot more convenient for students,” Bruce said.
Bruce went on to explain how staff have settled well in the new building.
“When medical professionals and mental health professionals are kind of by themselves on an island, sometimes you just create unneeded barriers that amplifies student or patient safety overall,” Bruce said. “I think so far, most of the staff have liked the move here. I think the biggest challenge is just letting students know where we are now.”
SCC’s student involvement has grown this year. There are 600 to a thousand students involved in the SCC. Services they offer to students are one-on-one’s, group therapy and, most recently, programs with other departments.
“I’ve been designing programs to help coordinate with other departments so students come in, and we can help them get connected to the Opportunity Center, or to clubs within the student services, or to housing,” Bruce said.
This fall, the SCC has seen a spike just like previous years in the past.
“Every fall, including this one, is when we see the most appointment requests. So what we do is we try to strategize the best practices to be able to get students in to be able to assess what they might need and what either counseling center or USD resources are available, and then kind of help get them going in the right direction,” Bruce said. To learn more about the SCC or schedule appointments, contact [email protected] or visit their website.