Professional counseling services, referrals, and community partnerships ensure Wheaton students are happy and healthy.
by Kate Puopolo, LMHC
Associate Dean for Health and Wellness & Director of Counseling
Happy fall, Wheaton families and friends! I hope that many of you were able to visit campus for Family and Friends Weekend, and I can only hope that Mother Nature gifts all of you with beautiful days like today. There is nothing quite like a New England campus in the autumn, and every time I stroll across The Dimple, I feel incredibly grateful to be a member of the Wheaton community.
Halloween marks my first-year anniversary at Wheaton, and as I approach this date I find it appropriate to reflect upon and share with you all the prioritization and growth of wellness resources available to students on campus. Across the country, colleges and universities are highlighting the need for increased attention to the well-being and mental health of college students in our post-pandemic world. Wheaton noted and responded to this need by expanding the mental health services available to students.
The Wheaton College Counseling Center is fully staffed with four licensed clinicians, two graduate-level trainees, a case manager and outreach coordinator, and an office manager. We offer individual counseling, case management and referrals, wellness programming, and group therapy options. We have existing relationships with local therapeutic and psychiatric providers to provide students with off-campus referrals, and have expanded our partnership with Mantra Health to offer telehealth services, free of charge, to Wheaton students who would benefit from online therapy.
As important (if not more) as the resources available to students through the Counseling Center are the resources and people available to students outside of the Counseling Center. With the current rates of mental health concerns among college students nationwide, it is imperative that higher education professionals and the campus community across the board have the knowledge and tools to support students and create healthy environments in which students live, learn and grow. Some of the most meaningful and gratifying work that I have engaged in since my start at Wheaton has been educating and training groups of students, faculty and staff on basic mental health literacy to enhance the safety and well-being of Wheaton students. I look forward to continuing and increasing this work this academic year and in the future.
On the Health Services side, Wheaton continues its partnership with Norton Medical Center to provide quality healthcare to students. We were pleased to offer on-campus flu shots to the campus community through Shaw’s pharmacy at the end of September. We partnered with Walgreens recently to offer additional flu shots and Covid boosters to interested students, faculty, and staff.
Our number one goal is to keep the Wheaton community healthy and safe, both mentally and physically. We thank you for entrusting your students with us and we welcome any feedback that you may have to optimize student well-being. My very best to all of you and I hope to see many of you on campus in the coming weeks and months!