Counseling Center aims for empowerment


Colin Stevenson

Esports and gaming club head Zachary Zoet talks at the opening of the Legacy gaming lounge, March 28, 2022. Zoet, also assistant director of the Counseling Center wants students to have the mental health to navigate life.

From juggling classes and jobs, the attempt to have a social life, terrible sleep schedules, and discovering who they really are, college students are facing more and more stressors each day. The Mayo Clinic reports that up to 44% of students have reported symptoms of depression and anxiety. The MSU Counseling Center is doing what they can to combat that – including the recent Mental Health Workshops. 

Zachary Zoet, assistant director of the MSU Counseling Center wants students to be equipped with the tools to navigate the stressors of life. 

“We feel like it’s our mission to improve the mental health of students generally,” he said. “And if there is a way we can get to students early and empower them with some tools… if students are empowered with that knowledge that maybe they’ve missed, that could help them to navigate a stressful relationship for the better.” 

This semester’s workshop focused on healthy relationships, burn out, and anxiety management. After last semester’s workshop, students were able to give their feedback on not only topics, but how the workshop was actually run.

The Mayo Clinic reports that up to 44% of college students have reported symptoms of depression and anxiety, 2023.
The Mayo Clinic reports that up to 44% of college students have reported symptoms of depression and anxiety, 2023. (Colin Stevenson)

Amanda Lunt, LPC and clinician at the MSU Counseling Center handled much of the organization for the workshops. She spoke of the importance of receiving feedback from the students and using that information to go forward with more workshops. For this semester, they made the decision to break the information down into more condensed versions of what has been presented previously.

“We just really wanted to reflect and think ‘What will students get from this? What do they want to learn more about? What are some of the main clinical issues that we see come up a lot?” she said. “It is a lot of information and this is their own personal time so not wanting to take too much of their time was really ideal for them.” 

While the workshops had specific themes, Lunt said there’s no required state or condition a student has to meet in order to take advantage of the resources the Counseling Center offers. 

“Regardless of what they’re dealing with, we want to find ways to support them,” Lunt said.  “And if that’s not us, that’s okay, but there are other resources out there we could look into for them.”

Anxiety management is an important topic of this semester's mental health workshops, 2023.
Anxiety management is an important topic of this semester’s mental health workshops, 2023. (Colin Stevenson)

For midterms, Moffitt Library brought in therapy dogs. Though it was not sponsored by the Counseling Center, Zoet was excited to see it. 

“We’re really happy the library is doing that. We are happy anytime a department is student centered and mindful of the impact that stress can have on mental health,” Zoet said. “Midterm window is very stressful and so it’s nice to see the library taking initiative to do their part because this works best when we are a coalition of stakeholders rather than the Counseling Center driving everything.”

The Counseling Center is free to students and all services have already been covered by student service fees. The Center can be found on the corner of Hampstead and Louis J. Rodriguez Drive.