Free campus well-being programs help college students through loss

Author Bill Burman, left, with his father, who passed away unexpectedly while Bill was in college at DePaul University.(Pictured: Author Bill Burman, left, with his father. Bill's dad passed away unexpectedly while Bill was a college student.)

In the weeks after my father's death, I wandered around in a shocked, blank state. I didn't throw myself into drugs or alcohol or drop out of school, but I could have used someone to talk to very badly. Nobody told me that as a student I had access to an array of free well-being programs that might have helped me.

The entire time I spent wandering around campus carrying my grief quietly inside me, I was passing offices staffed with professionals who were there to offer counseling to bereaved or depressed students or those with other issues.

I eventually healed on my own, but I feel a certain duty to broadcast the existence of these services to students today.

Your campus is likely home to a battery of professionals who can offer you some sort of free or low cost counseling during your own rough times. whether it be a death in the family or another personal issue. Campus well-being programs offer a range of services, including grief counseling, psychiatric care, depression and eating disorders, domestic violence, sexual abuse counseling and LGBT issues.

  • Start online. You don't even need to go to your school's website, and it may not help much anyway ... often, the names for the offices that provide these types of services vary widely from school to school. Finding resources for your school is as easy as searching for a term such as "university counseling DePaul University." Still lost? Get up and walk to your campus health or wellness center and just ask.
  • Find out what your insurance covers. Many colleges enroll you in some sort of health plan when you reside on campus. Check with your school's Student Health Department for the details of your plan. While limited on campus help may be available, you may find that, using your school coverage, you have the opportunity to take advantage of resources off campus as well.
  • Just go. These services are often confidential, and whether you're dealing with the loss of a loved one, depression, or are a victim, no one has to know that you don't want to know. Don't wait. Programs like these are paid for in part through your tuition. Take advantage of them. Like your classes and housing, they're resources available to help you.
Now that you know that there are people on campus to whom you can reach out, you don't have to do this by yourself. You've got the resources to get through this, and you don't have to do it alone.
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