The FAMU Offices of Counseling Services held an open house Wednesday, giving students an opportunity to go from office to office to meet each counselor and learn about the programs and workshops offered each week throughout the semester.
The open house was a way for students to familiarize themselves with the staff and resources offered in the Offices of Counseling Services (OCS).
OCS is a resource for students that provides a professional, safe atmosphere where students can discuss academic and personal issues. OCS is available to assist students with a variety of concerns such as homesickness, struggles with relationships, study skills, substance use, worries and depression.
“Counseling services has done a really good job helping me resolve my issues,” junior African American studies major Rachel Harden said. “Even if they feel like there is the slightest possibility they won’t be able to help they constantly point me in the right direction of different resources and different ways I can reduce stress and things of that nature.”
OCS is located across the street from Polkinghorne Village residence hall at 636 Gamble St.
“My first time making an appointment and thereafter with OCS it took about three weeks for me to be seen. That can be frustrating, especially for situations I feel are more urgent or need to be addressed more quickly than others,” freshman Morgan White said.
According to the American Psychology Association, 1,737:1 is the mean student-to-counseling-staff ratio at colleges and universities nationwide, according to a survey of counseling center directors.
“No matter what counseling center you go to on a university campus across the nation there is going to be a wait for an appointment because the demand is so high for college students to receive our services. Fortunately, stigma is reducing so more people are coming to see us, which is great but there’s only so many counselors for students so what we’ve done here at FAMU counseling center to try and accommodate that flow is offer more workshops in groups,” Chika Hooper, one of the counselors, said.
“Workshops in groups are offered twice in a week. Let’s say you have to wait three weeks for an appointment. You could start workshops or group immediately that week and you can have anywhere from three to six weeks working through your issue or your concern building skills immediately. The downside is a lot of students don’t see a benefit of going to workshops and building skills and getting therapeutic relief but that’s what we’re really trying to do because we know we can’t accommodate every single student.” Hooper added.
Hooper has been a counselor at FAMU since 2015 and is the coordinator for clinical programs. She works closely with students to try and understand their needs in order to better serve the student body.
During the open house students were introduced to WellConnect and WellTrack, two new forms of technology put in place at OCS to help students help themselves.
“Here at the counseling services office we inform students on WellContect, our after-hours crisis management service and WellTrack which is our self-help app. We really try to promote other ways of seeking help that is maybe not so long-term and/or labor intensive but that still does accomplish some type of therapeutic services and maybe even prevention” Hooper said.
In the event that a concern is urgent, or you are feeling suicidal, you are encouraged to walk in and see the next available counselor. To reach the
National Suicide Prevention Hotline, call 800-273-8255.