A post on Rowan University’s subreddit last week sparked a conversation about mental health.
Though largely anecdotal, the post itself became one of the most upvoted discussions on Rowan’s subreddit with the general feeling being that Rowan’s Wellness Center isn’t doing enough to address the difficulties students may have. From the controversial wait lists to being treated rudely while being seen, both current Rowan students and alumni didn’t hold anything back when voicing their concerns.
However, that might all soon change.
In a Whit exclusive, the Wellness Center’s department heads sat down to not only address the criticism the Wellness Center has received, but talk about some of the ways they look to improve in the future.
“The thing that is concerning to me is that we want students to know that there’s a place to go. That there’s a place for help,” Assistant Director of Healthy Campus Initiatives Allie Pearce said. “The number one thing that we’re looking for is that we hear you and your feelings are 100% valid. We want to make sure that students know that they can come here [the Wellness Center] and that they can start here.”
The Wellness Center has seen the exponential growth of Rowan’s student population over the past decade first hand. As the population increases so too does the demand for health related assistance, especially mental health.
Though students can be seen by someone as soon as they come in, some students might have unrealistic expectations when entering the center.
“Some students are concerned about being able to walk in and seeing someone and certainly it’s one part of our operations,” Associate Director of the Wellness Center Amy Hoch said. “But depending on the level of urgency they’re triaged. So they could either be seen immediately, they can be seen in a couple of hours, or they can be seen in a couple of days. So that’s determined by what the student presents with. So I think sometimes the expectation is that ‘I should be seen now.’ So I want there to be a realistic expectation based on what the student says and what we can do in that moment.”
Communication was also among the major critiques that were discussed, but is also one of the major improvements the Wellness Center is hoping to accomplish.
“We try to speak to students as often as we can,” Director of the Wellness Center Scott Woodside said. “We recently spoke to SGA about some of the resources and initiatives at the Wellness Center has available, as well as some of the events we are looking to sponsor. So going out and just talking to students is something we’re really improving in, and hope to make a consistent point.”
Though the Wellness Center’s critiques are warranted, what often gets unnoticed is the dedicated staff, both professional and student, that work at the Wellness Center.
“It goes without saying that some of the success stories that happen here are from the caring staff that works here,” Hoch said.
“We get emails from former alum that just move me,” Pearce said. “People saying, ‘You saved my life’ or ‘You helped me figure out what I wanted to do’ are some of the things that just make feel that we’re really doing something important here. If we continue to communicate better with the student body, we’ll be able to assist students in a very efficient and progressive way.”
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