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Friday, May 27, 2022

Counseling and Wellness Center seeing more students

Whether it’s difficult exams, piles of homework or social drama, college can be stressful.

According to a study by the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors, more college students are visiting campus counseling centers, and UF students may be following this trend.

According to an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, directors from 424 counseling centers responded to a fall 2010 survey. Results showed 77 percent of centers saw an increase in students with “severe psychological problems,” up 6 percentage points from the 2008-2009 statistics.

UF visiting professor of psychology Ilan Shrira said there is less of a stigma in recent decades, and people are seeking help for less severe circumstances.

Sherry Benton, director of UF’s Counseling and Wellness Center, said UF students are matching the national trend, and more students are coming to see counselors. Specific data is difficult to produce because the school merged the former Student Mental Health Center and Student Counseling Center during the summer.

However, both the former centers saw growth over the last few years, and Benton said the 2010-2011 school year saw a spike in the number of students who came for counseling. She attributed some of it to economic stress and academic pressures. However, there is no clear cause that can explain a jump in numbers.

“There’s almost as many patterns as there are students,” Benton said.

The Counseling and Wellness Center primarily offers short-term counseling that helps students learn to cope with and minimize their issues.

Madeline — a UF sophomore who didn’t want to use her last name due to privacy reasons —  visited once in January to get advice on breaking up with her boyfriend, who had a psychological disorder. She was worried about his disorder and how he would take the news.

Madeline knows about five people who have also gone to the Counseling and Wellness Center. She said she was more comfortable making the appointment because she knew people who had gone to counseling sessions there.

“It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you,” she said.

The Counseling and Wellness Center offers workshops, weekly group sessions, meditation, a biofeedback lab and one-on-one counseling sessions. For more information, call 352-392-1575 or visit

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