Investigative follow up- What’s changed at the Mental Health and Wellness Center

On Jan. 2022 the Valley Vanguard published an article detailing the “lies and toxic work environment” that staff had experienced while working at the Mental Health and Wellness Center on campus.

With over a year having passed the center has made many changes to how they operate and has under- gone a complete shift in staff. Director of Mental Health and Wellness Center Brett Boswinkle elaborated.

“Since the Summer of 2021, there has been a 100% turnover in the staff of the center. I came aboard as director in May 2022. Since I came aboard, we have not had more than a three-week time between a stu- dent’s request for counseling and the intake taking place,” he said.

He also explained why that wait sometimes happens.

“And that three-week wait was mainly due to students sometimes having a restrictive schedule, meaning, they didn’t have many days and times they were able to meet with a counselor, so we had to book it two to three weeks out to provide a time that worked for that student’s schedule,” he said. “Normal wait time for students with at least moderate availability is about 3-5 business days. As a comparison, normal wait time for outpatient therapy in the community is about 6-8 weeks in most cases.”

Besides focusing on getting students more immediate help, training has also been implemented for staff.

“We have also invested in training internally. By the end of fall, all four licensed full-time clinical staff will be trained in EMDR therapy, which is an evidence-based treatment for trauma, but it also has uses with depression, anxiety, grief, and other mental health issues as well,” Boswinkle said. “We are very excited to have this cutting edge therapy option available to students. We have also brought in trainers to increase clinical competency for working with members of the LGBTQIA+ population.”

According to Boswinkle, the reputation of the center has turned around.

“The feedback I hear seems to strongly indicate that the reputation of the center has improved signifi- cantly from what I have been told it was in the past. That feedback has come from individual students, stu- dent groups, faculty, and staff.”

He said they used problem solv- ing to address past issues.

“On the few occasions we have received negative feedback, we

problem-solve to address what went wrong and put plans in place to im- prove the issue. While the feedback indicates we are mostly doing well, we are not perfect and always seek to improve,” he said. “The current staff of the Campus Mental Health and Wellness Center are dedicated to providing the highest quality of services to the students of SVSU. I truly couldn’t ask for a better team to work with.”

A student on campus, who wishes to remain anonymous, shared their recent experience with the center.

“The Mental Health and Wellness Center was brought up to me by faculty on campus when I was going through a difficult time,” they said. “However, I found that the experience there didn’t give me the help I needed.”

They continued to say they appreciate SVSU having a center but changes should be made.

“It’s amazing SVSU has a mental health center on campus, however, there could be more action towards helping students in dire situations,” they said. “I felt like both my issues and I weren’t being taken seriously. The center could be such a wonderful resource for students, however, currently, it feels like the students are an afterthought.”

Students are able to visit the Mental Health Center by appointment or for a walk-in appointment. Walk in appointments are available on Fri- day’s from 10 a.m. to 11 and 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The center claims they can help treat a lot of different issues including depression, anxiety, trauma, adhd, homesickness, relationship issues and more. The center does not bill insurance and no previous diagnosis is necessary to visit.

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