MISHAWAKA—For several years, Bethel has provided counseling services to its students. According to a flyer distributed by the Wellness Center, the Wellness Center Counseling Services provide: “Professional, short-term mental health and life skills counseling services; services within a framework of wellness regarding spiritual, emotional, mental, behavioral, and physical health; and consultation services to Bethel faculty and staff who have questions or concerns regarding how to support students, no confidential information will be exchanged.”
Stan Blom, Ph.D., HSPP, is currently the Director of the Wellness Center; Blom provides counseling and oversees the other two counselors. Blom says that he hopes students know that they are welcome to make use of the counseling services “anytime.”
“Anxiety, depression moodiness, tension problems, anything they wonder might be a problem they’re welcome to come in, make an appointment,” said Blom. “We can help them sort out what kind of answers they’re looking for and help them decide whether they want to continue counseling.”
Blom said that he would rather have a student come in and inquire about whether counseling is right for them than not come in at all because they aren’t sure.
Blom said, “Whether what someone is going through has to do with how they feel, what they think, behavior choices, we would like to have a chance to help them sort that out and make their own best choices for themselves.”
Blom added that the easiest way to make an appointment is to call the Counseling Center at (574) 807-7370. Individuals can also go to the office in person to make an appointment or email the Office Manager, Robin Dykes, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is a small amount of paperwork that Blom prefers students do before their first counseling session.
“First of all, we’re trying to see which counselor would work best with the student, because the counselors have different skills and interests,” said Blom. “And also to help us prepare before the student walks in for trying to go down the right path with him.”
Blom said that there are many benefits to taking advantage of the counseling sessions.
“It’s a chance to sit down with someone who really wants to listen, try to understand, help them understand, and then make any changes they might like to make in their life, to relieve stress, solve problems, manage their life better,” said Blom. “It’s a chance for a student to come into a very safe space, talk with someone who is completely not judgmental, to listen to their story only to help the student understand.”
Blom also stressed that the sessions are completely confidential.
“The only exception is if a student is threating harm to himself or herself, or to someone else,” said Blom. “Short of a danger issue, it’s completely confidential.”
“A variety of things tend to go better,” said Blom. “People feel relief that maybe someone understands their situation, they don’t feel so alone; they feel less anxious, because now they realize they're not carrying the burden alone; they realize there are other resources to help share the stress... that often leads to more enjoyable relationships [and] leads to improved academic functioning.”
“I think the people that are at the Wellness Center now, the counselors, the office manager, the nurse, are really, really caring people that would like to be able to help to support students,” said Blom. “They have a heart for working with people and they simply want to be there.”
Please note that if you're feeling depressed or having suicidal thoughts, you should call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately at 1 (800) 273-8255. They will give you free and confidential support.