by Allyson Osborne:
When a College at Brockport student is plagued by the flu, a persistent cold or any other worrisome medical issue, the Hazen Center for Integrated Care is often their first stop. But what about when students need mental health treatment? Well, Hazen has services for that too.
The Counseling Center at Hazen offers a variety of counseling, psychiatric and outreach services to students at the college. Elizabeth “Libby” Caruso, the director of the Hazen Center for Integrated Care, said that these services include individual, group and relationship counseling, access to a licensed social worker and a psychiatric resident at the center and access to a licensed psychiatrist two days a week.
“The ‘integration’ part of this is that the Health Center also works very closely with the Counseling Center in terms of prescribing medications, making referrals and doing follow-ups,” Caruso said.
21-year-old Samantha Ernest is a senior and international business major at the college, and she said she’s been going to counseling sessions at Hazen “on and off” for about four years now.
“I only started going regularly within the last year,” Ernest said. “Now I do therapy with one of the counselors, and I basically just talk to him every two weeks about my life.”
Ernest’s main reason for using counseling services is to cope with her depression. She began to feel off beginning her freshman year in college, and she finds going to therapy at Hazen helps her manage her depression.
“I thought I could handle it, but I started getting into these slumps that I couldn’t handle on my own,” Ernest said. “It’s good to get perspective from someone else rather than your depressed brain.”
While Ernest is very forthcoming about her mental health wellbeing, several other students asked to interview for this article were reluctant to be quoted. Ernest said this could be due to a stigma surrounding mental health on college campuses.
“I think a lot of people maybe view it as they look crazy if they go to therapy,” Ernest said. “I also think a lot of guys don’t want to go to therapy because they think it makes them look weak, but it really doesn’t.”
Ernest said the one aspect the Counseling Center could improve on is to be more known to students.
“I didn’t really know about the Counseling Center until I went to [the Health Center] a few times for appointments,” Ernest said. “Once I realized it existed, I started using it.”
Hazen is funded by the Campus Health Center fee that each student pays on their student bill. This fee makes Health Center and Counseling appointments free for students, and significantly cuts the costs of medication, women’s health services and more. For students like Ernest, it is critical that accessible health services exists within walking distance.