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SHSU Counseling Center gains student approval

Assistant News Editor

Published: Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 00:02

One Sam Houston State University student has broken the status quo as she comes forward to talk about her time at the counseling center and how it has helped her.

SHSU senior Kelly Whitaker has been an avid supporter of the Counseling Center amongst her friends as well as a visitor since spring 2012.

“I started having panic attacks,” Whitaker said. “I went to the hospital for a really bad panic attack once, and I had to start going to counseling.”

The National Institute of Mental Healthhas found that 4.1 percent of the United States’ 21.5 million college-aged citizens suffer from some form of mental illness, including anxiety and panic disorders.

The average college student goes through quite a bit in addition to school, so the occasional stress induced crash is to be expected. Sam Houston State University is no different than any other college in that respect, according to Executive Director of the Counseling ServicesDrew Miller, Ph.D.

“What we see when we look at that data is that the prevalence rates for things like depression and anxiety amongst our students are similar to those of students around the country,” Miller said.

The SHSU Counseling Center’s main focus is on the helping student, faculty and staff further themselves by “resolving personal difficulties that prevent optimal functioning,” according to their mission statement.

The counseling center offers a variety of intervention types, including individual counseling, couples counseling, group counseling and crisis intervention based upon cognitive behavioral therapy.

“CBT has been proven to be highly effective in dealing with many of the most common mental health concerns, including depression and anxiety,” Miller said. “It’s particularly useful in our setting because individuals can start seeing a benefit from it in a matter of weeks as opposed to months and months of therapy.”

After visiting the center for more than a year, Whitaker has found that knowing she isn’t alone and has an unbiased party to talk to are some of the most helpful aspects of the counseling center.

“Looking back on it now, I think it helped me a lot,” she said. “I actually started to look forward to the meetings to get things of my chest.”

With the experiences she had at the center, Whitaker has found not only an improvement in herself but has also taken to helping her friends by recommending them to see the counselors when things seem too difficult.

“I really like it,” Whitaker said. “Everyone is really nice there. I’ve recommended it to couple friends.”

The counseling center is located in the Lee Drain Building, directly across from the Administration Building. For more information, call 936-294-1720.

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