Mental Health Resources at the Wellness Center, Part 1

exterior view, entrance to Wellness Center

Services and Updates at the Wellness Center

One of the University’s top priorities is supporting the mental health of our graduate students. The Graduate Studies Office will be providing information about available resources to graduate students and to our faculty and staff who support them. Here are some updates about the Wellness Center.

In 2017 the Student Health Service and the University Counseling Center joined forces to become the Wellness Center. How did this benefit graduate and professional students?  

At the Wellness Center, physicians and therapists collaborate to provide holistic treatment that addresses the physical, mental, and emotional needs of students. Graduate students benefit by receiving improved comprehensive care that may result in early diagnosis of certain disorders and in holistic treatment utilizing support services as appropriate.

What expanded or new services does the Wellness Center now offer that would be of particular interest to graduate and professional students?

The Wellness Center recognizes the unique needs of graduate students especially in regard to mental health services. As a result, five therapy groups are offered exclusively for graduate students. This fall, a new group is available for graduate students who are parents. The other groups are the Dissertation Support Group, Graduate Support Group (two offerings), and Understand Self and Others Group. View current listings of group therapy options, including meeting times.

How long will it take to get an appointment to see a psychologist or a counselor?

Through the Wellness Center’s Day-Call service, any student can be seen the day that they walk into the Counseling Center during hours of operation (provided below). The student will meet with a counselor, and together they will determine the next course of treatment, whether it be individual counseling, group therapy, workshops, or a referral to a community therapist. Depending on the needs of the student, an appointment may be scheduled in one to two weeks. Waiting times may increase during busy times in the semester.

Is there a limit to the number of psychologist or counseling appointments per student? What happens if I reach this limit and I need to talk to someone?

No. There are no session limits. The therapist and student will determine the duration of treatment, which on average is six to seven sessions per student. If it is determined that a student would benefit from frequent or long-term therapy, arrangements will be made to refer the student to a therapist in the community. Care at the Wellness Center will be provided during the transitional period.

When a graduate student sees a psychologist or a counselor, will their program director or research advisor find out?

No. All visits to the Wellness Center are strictly confidential. Medical and therapy staff are bound by HIPAA privacy rules that prevent them from sharing any information with anyone else without written consent by the student.

Many students have academic and/or personal responsibilities from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Are appointments with a psychologist or counselor available after 5:00 p.m.? How about medical services?

Counseling appointments are available on Monday and Thursday evenings until 8:30 p.m.

Medical services are available on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays until 7:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Note that students who are sick do not need an appointment on Saturday.

Additional Information

Start with a screening: See how to make an appointment for counseling

Location and Hours:

Office of Counseling Center
Nordenberg Hall – Wellness Center
119 University Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Phone: 412-648-7930
Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Monday and Thursday: 5:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
(Evening hours are fall and spring terms only.)

Crisis and Emergency Help: See resources and contact information for emergency and crisis situations.

Thanks to Marian Vanek, Executive Director of the Wellness Center, for her input and guidance as we developed this article.

Read Part 2: Resources at the Wellness Center »