By RUTH BORDETT
Within the basement of Lee Hall at the University of Mary Washington lies a space full of student resources. Here is where one can find the Health Center, the self-service resource room and, most important of all, the Talley Center for Counseling Services.
Mental health issues like anxiety and depression are extremely prevalent on college campuses around the country. A survey conducted in 2012 by the National Alliance on Mental Health reported that 40 percent of students with diagnosable mental health conditions did not seek help while at school, and 57 percent of them did not seek help from accommodations provided by their school. These overwhelmingly concerning numbers indicate that most students do not utilize the counseling services provided to them by their colleges, but this readily available resource should be understood as a safe and open space for all.
Some may not be aware that UMW offers free counseling and psychiatric services to all full-time students. Services are also available to part-time students, but in more limited availability. Formerly known as CAPS, the Talley Center offers a variety of counseling services including individual, group, couples, referrals and outreach. Individual therapy allows for a more specialized focus, while group therapy is available for students to work through issues with the help of their peers. Students have the opportunity to try either and determine which works best with them.
According to Melissa Palguta, a therapist at the Talley Center, students can either make a walk-in counseling appointment or call the center’s phone number. The only requirement is students are required an initial triage appointment in order to identify the issues at hand before diving into regular appointments.
Furthermore, Palguta noted that crisis appointments are also offered, for which students can “come in or call, and we’ll get them in that day,” Palguta said.
The Talley Center staff is made up of Director Nicole Surething and a team of skilled and professional therapists, counselors and interns with specialties in a variety of areas. Palguta pointed out that the Center also has a psychiatrist, Dr. Suhir Nataraja, who is available one day a week and “can deal with any psychological issue that requires medication.”
On top of the in-house services the Talley Center offers, the center’s website provides a variety of resources to test anxiety, coping with grief and loss, eating disorders and many other issues frequently faced by college students. Considering the high rates of anxiety faced by students, Palguta also noted the helpful relaxation resources located on the Talley Center’s website.
UMW students should never be afraid to seek out help for mental health issues they may be facing, or for any other reason that inclines them toward seeking help. As the school year continues on, it is beneficial to keep in mind that the Talley Center is free to full-time students and completely confidential. Students have nothing to lose in exploring the services the Talley Center offers, and how the center can improve their college experience overall.
Students seeking assistance from the Talley Center may visit its location in Lee Hall, Room 106, or they may contact the center at (540) 654-1053. Visit students.umw.edu/counseling for more information.