I am concerned about my own mental health
How do I know if I need help?
There are a few quick questions that you can ask yourself to find out if you need help in this free online screening. Or, you can visit one of UWM’s Let’s Talk consultants for an informal, friendly, and confidential consultation.
The “Let’s Talk” Program provides brief, walk-in consultations for UWM students with counselors from the Norris Health Center at several locations around the UWM campus. It is free, and no appointment is necessary. Consultations are informal, friendly, and confidential. Students are seen on a first come, first served basis for about 20 minutes. The counselor consultant will listen to your concerns and provide support, perspective, and suggestions for resources. The consultant can help determine whether formal counseling would be useful to you and, if appropriate, assist you in getting connected to appropriate services.
For more information about the Let’s Talk program, including times and locations, visit www4.uwm.edu/norris/mental_health/lets_talk/index.cfm.
How can I access on-campus mental health services?
- Call the Norris Health Center at 414-229-4716 to make an appointment (weekday business hours, only).
- Visit one of UWM’s Let’s Talk consultants from the Norris Health Center for an informal, friendly, and confidential consultation.
- For crises outside of business hours, contact the Milwaukee County Crisis Line at 414-257-7222 or
Columbia-St. Mary’s Emergency Services at 414-291-1200.
- For life threatening emergencies on campus call UWM Police 414-229-9911 (9-911 campus phone)
Norris Health Center is open between 8am and 4:45pm Monday through Thursday and between 9am and 4:45pm on Friday. Students who are currently enrolled for class credits at UWM and have paid the student segregated fee are eligible for services at no cost. With the exception of urgent situations, please phone 414-229-4716 to make an appointment in advance
- For students experiencing crisis situations or who have urgent needs that are not life threatening, brief screening sessions (up to 30 minutes) are provided to help stabilize the situation and determine what further services may be necessary. A Norris Health Center counselor is on-call between 8am and 4pm Monday through Thursday and between 9am and 4pm on Friday. An appointment is not necessary, but there may be a wait to be seen if the counselor is occupied with another student at the time of your arrival.
The “Let’s Talk” Program provides brief, walk-in consultations for UWM students with counselors from the Norris Health Center at several locations around the UWM campus. It is free, and no appointment is necessary. Consultations are informal, friendly, and confidential. Students are seen on a first come, first served basis for about 20 minutes. For more information about the Let’s Talk program, including times and locations, visit www4.uwm.edu/norris/mental_health/lets_talk/index.cfm
For crises that arise outside of Norris Health Center’s business hours, contact
Milwaukee County Crisis line at 414-257-7222 or
Columbia-St. Mary’s Emergency Services at 414-291-1200.
These crisis lines are answered twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week (24/7).
For life threatening emergencies on campus call UWM Police 414-229-9911 (9-911 campus phone).
What can I expect when I meet with a counselor?
- You will receive private, confidential, and professional services.
- Counseling is an active process.
- You will be asked to reflect and share your area of concern.
- Your counselor will listen, ask questions, and offer comments.
- Your counselor will work with you to explore options for achieving your goals.
- Between sessions, you may be encouraged to observe yourself, recall or notice events and relationships, and/or try out helpful new behaviors.
- Counseling is an opportunity to explore and learn about yourself.
- This process can help you make adjustments that may lead to a more satisfying life.
- Success is most likely when you are an active participant and your communication with your counselor is open and honest.
Your visits with the Counseling & Consultation Services staff are private, and no one outside Norris Health Center is given any information about you without your written permission. None of the information you provide becomes a part of your academic record at UWM. There are certain limits to confidentiality, such as, if you are a clear and present danger of harm to yourself or others; in situations of abuse or neglect to a child under age 18; or in the event of a court order for information. The counselor will provide a more detailed description of limits to confidentiality during your intake appointment.
Counseling provides an opportunity to explore and learn about yourself within a confidential, professional relationship. Increased understanding of yourself and your opportunities may facilitate your adjustment and lead to a more satisfying life. You may explore thoughts, feelings, hopes, fears, and wishes, as well as patterns of relating to others. You may reflect on past decisions or experiences and their consequences, or you may evaluate future goals and decisions.
Your responsibility in counseling is to reflect and share your area of concern. In the initial intake appointment, you will have the opportunity to discuss your needs and concerns as well as provide your counselor with important background information. Following this evaluation, your counselor will recommend how your needs might best be met, either through the Norris Health Center, or referral to an outside provider or agency.
Once counseling begins, your counselor will work with you to clarify and deepen your self-understanding, explore options for change, and develop a plan suited to achieve your goals. Counseling is an active process which requires work on your part and may involve exploration of painful events and feelings. Your counselor listens, asks questions, and offers comments. Together, you decide on a focus for your “work”.
Between sessions, you gather information: by observing yourself, by recalling or noticing events and relationships, by trying out helpful new behaviors. Counseling is not guaranteed to “solve your problem”, but success is most likely when you are an active participant and your communication with your counselor is open and honest.
I do not feel as if I am capable of completing my courses. What should I do?
Speak with your academic advisor to discuss the late withdrawal policies and processes for your particular school/college.
If you do not feel as if you are capable of completing your courses due to a mental health concern, please speak with your academic advisor to discuss the late withdrawal policies and processes for your particular school/college.
In certain situations, you may be able to request a medical tuition credit when withdrawing from classes due to a severe medical issue. These requests are considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the unique circumstances of each situation. The Dean of Students Office can work with you to complete this request and to discuss any consequences related to withdrawing from classes. The Dean of Students Office can be reached at 414-229-4632.
I am concerned about a friend
How do I know if I should say something?
Generally speaking, you should tell someone whenever you feel concerned for their well-being.
While each person experiences emotional distress in a different way, some common indicators that you might observe include:
- Persistent sad, empty, or anxious mood
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Excessive worrying
- Sadness, tearfulness, or unusual/exaggerated emotional responses
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Feelings of fatigue or seeming “slowed down”
- Infrequent/inconsistent class attendance or serious grade problems
- Lack of enthusiasm about various aspects of student life
- Withdrawal from activities or friends
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering
- Decline in personal hygiene
- Inability to communicate – garbled, slurred, disjointed, or incoherent speech
- Loss of contact with reality
- Suicidal thoughts or intentions
What do I say to a friend who is experiencing emotional distress, and how should I say it?
- Practice. These conversations are hard. It’s okay to think through – or even “practice” – the conversation ahead of time.
- Take the time to acknowledge your own feelings and biases beforehand. You may be feeling sad, anxious, or even angry – this is okay. However, you want to be able to express your concerns without reflecting your own biases or judgments.
- Find the right time and setting, so that you both have time to talk and are able to do so privately and without distractions.
- Ask permission to talk about the issue – this conveys respect and will often decrease defensiveness.
- Openly acknowledge that you are: aware that they are having a difficult time, concerned about their well-being, and anxious to help.
- Briefly describe your observations of their situation and express your concerns directly and honestly. Use “I statements.” For example: “I noticed that you seemed really overwhelmed and down when we talked about your classes yesterday. I am worried and would like to help.”
- Listen carefully without interrupting.
- Reflect back what you are hearing without judgment or evaluation.
- Ask about their current support systems and validate any work, thought, or effort that they have already put in to examining or addressing the problem.
- Work together to brainstorm possible courses of action.
- Encourage them to seek help – remind them that Norris offers confidential counseling services free of charge to registered students
- Involve yourself only as far as you feel comfortable and competent. You are here to be a friend/peer mentor – not a therapist. Ask for help or support from your own support group, especially if you are unsure of how to proceed. Norris Counseling Services is also available for consultation if you need assistance or are uncertain about how to approach a specific individual.
What can I do if I am worried that a friend is experiencing problems as a result of alcohol or other drug use?
Behaviors of concern may include:
- Continued use despite repeatedly experiencing problems as a result, such as fights or arguments with family or friends; interference with school, work, and other important responsibilities; or taking risks or getting seriously injured while under the influence
- Using alcohol or other drugs before class or work
- Alcohol or other drug use becoming more important than anything else – such as school, work, friends, or family
- Tendency to avoid events where substances will not be readily available or a propensity to consume quantities of alcohol or other drugs before attending these events
- Increased tolerance and difficulty cutting down or controlling level of use
- Becoming angry, defensive, or annoyed when their use of alcohol or other substances is discussed
If you are worried about a friend’s substance use:
- Express your observations and concerns in an open and nonjudgmental manner.
- Refer to ways in which their substance use might be impacting their quality of life or stand in conflict with their known personal values.
- Offer to help your friend connect with available resources:
- e-CHUG: An online alcohol assessment and personalized feedback tool. Visit www.e-CHUG.uwm.edu
- Alcohol and your College Experience (ACE) Program: Alcohol skills class, brief screening, and personalized feedback session specifically designed for UWM students. Visit www4.uwm.edu/ace to register.
- Evaluation and Treatment Services: Norris Health Center’s Counseling and Consultation Services provides alcohol and other drug screening, assessment, and treatment. Call 414-229-4716 to schedule an appointment.
While most college students who use or experience problems as a result of alcohol or other drugs are not necessarily at the point of being addicted to these substances, some may still display behaviors that cause individuals close to them to become concerned about their substance use. By saying something, you may help your friend avoid consequences such as poor academic/job performance, unhealthy personal relationships, legal problems, and health concerns.
More about available resources:
- e-CHUG: An anonymous online alcohol assessment that provides users with personalized feedback regarding their individual drinking patterns, experiences, and risk factors. Visit www.e-CHUG.uwm.edu
- Alcohol and your College Experience (ACE) Program: Specifically designed for UWM students, the ACE Program offers education and strategies for individuals who are at-risk for experiencing or causing issues related to their personal alcohol use. The program includes a group alcohol skills class, brief screening, and individual feedback session. Visit www4.uwm.edu/ace to register.
- Evaluation and Treatment Services: The Counseling and Consultation Services unit of Norris Health Center offers voluntary, short-term Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) evaluation and treatment services. These services include AODA assessments for students who have questions or concerns regarding their use of alcohol or other substances. For those students desiring treatment of an identified substance use problem, short-term weekly counseling sessions are also offered. For students whose substance use problems require intensive AODA services, referrals to community resources are provided. Norris does NOT offer medications designed specifically for drug detoxification or maintenance. Call Norris Health Center at 414-229-4716 to schedule an appointment.
I want to stay mentally healthy
What are some positive ways of coping with stress?
- Work off stress by exercising
- Sleep and eat well
- Balance recreation and work
- Establish priorities
- Learn to accept what you can’t change
- Avoid “self-medicating” with alcohol or other drugs
- Talk about your worries with someone you trust
- Seek help when you need it
Work off stress. If you’re upset, blow off steam through activities like walking, running, or other exercise. Physical activity provides an outlet for physical and mental stress, and regular exercise makes your body more able to deal with the effects of stress.
Sleep and eat well. Lack of sleep can lessen your capacity to deal with stress. Similarly, unhealthy or irregular eating habits interfere with your mood and ability to cope with stress.
Balance recreation and work. Over the course of a week, make sure that you are taking time to care for your academic, emotional, social, physical, and spiritual needs.
Establish priorities. If you are feeling overloaded, create a list and take on tasks one at a time.
Learn to accept what you can’t change. If a problem is beyond your control, try your best to accept it. Focus on things that you can do something about.
Avoid “self-medicating”. Alcohol and other drugs are not effective ways of coping with issues in your life that may be causing you worry or distress. Turning to substances in order to cope with stress or other emotional difficulties increases your risk for experiencing negative consequences as a result of your use.
Talk about your worries with someone you trust. Sometimes another person can help you see a new side to the problem and, thus, a new solution.
Seek help when you need it. If you are experiencing on-going stress or have experienced a life event or crisis that has increased stress in your life, campus resources are available to help. Norris Counseling and Consultation Services offers free short-term individual counseling. To make an appointment, call 414-229-4716.
For additional strategies, visit http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/live-your-life-well