SVSU plans to open a new Mental Health & Wellness center.
“[The Center] will focus on developing strategies to provide integrated mental health and wellness services for the entire campus community – students, faculty and staff,” said James Muladore, the executive vice president for Administration & Business Affairs.
He explained that the center came about in part as a response to the pandemic.
“The COVID pandemic has brought to
the forefront the need for institutions and employers to have more awareness of mental health issues and to provide resources and benefits that address the increased challenges faced by all who serve the University community,” he said.
The development of the center is still in its early stages, including discussion on the level of services that will be provided to campus and the amount of resources to adequately support it, the renovation of space in Curtiss Hall and setting up an Advisory Committee.
The Advisory Committee will have representation from various campus individuals and groups to give input and assist with addressing student needs.
Another big first step was hiring in a new director for the center.
Margie Bach, an experienced leader in the mental health field, will assume the position in early April.
Working as President and CEO of Child & Family Services of Saginaw, Bach has already been partnering with the Counseling Department at SVSU.
“I thought the fact that the university wanted to grow the Counseling Center, seek new ways to support staff and faculty and create a campus of wellness was exciting to me,” she said. “I love program development, being innovative, creating partnerships and offering quality services.”
Bach said she is excited to develop programs and share her experience with the university.
“I am eager to work with [the current Counseling Center staff], grow the current services being offered and see how community partnerships can benefit students,” Bach said. “Students are enjoying the enhanced telehealth services the office has been offering and, even after students can be served in-person, it will continue to be a new format utilized to serve the student body.”
Bach also recognizes that students today are faced with more anxiety, depression and loneliness than ever before.
“My hope will be to grow the quality services currently offered to students as well as offer them an advocate who can link them with campus and community resources that will make them be successful in school and life,” Bach said. “I think by creating a more enhanced Mental Health and Wellness Center, students will be impacted by better school performance, decreased stress, learning how to manage anxiety and depression, as well as reducing the risk of suicide.”
The center is expected to be operating by the beginning of the upcoming fall semester.