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Archive for Saturday, August 15, 1998

S OPEN FOR TALKSREFERRALS

August 15, 1998

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Students who need to talk to someone can use Kansas University's Counseling and Psychological Services office.

While most students face anxiety over tests or being away from home, those who have more serious concerns about choosing a major or overwhelming stress have a place to turn.

Kansas University's Counseling and Psychological Services office handles more than 1,200 referrals a year.

The office, which is on the second floor of Watkins Student Health Center, has services available for all full-time students and part-time students who have paid their health fee.

``The most common problem we see is they're usually feeling depressed or anxious,'' said Frank DeSalvo, director of the office.

``It's usually connected to academic problems or relationship problems ... selecting a major or finding some sort of future direction in life.

``We have a generally healthy population, and with most of these adjustment issues the students feel stuck in one way or another. And once they can come in and talk to somebody and get unstuck, they are pretty capable of coming up with their own solutions.''

But what's the difference between normal anxiety over a paper or test, and a more serious problem in which a student might consider making an appointment with CAPS?

``Usually, there are several symptoms that people experience,'' DeSalvo said.

``There could be a change in their sleep patterns ... a change in appetite, either they start eating all the time and gain weight or lose their appetite and lose weight.

``The other is a lack of motivation and an ability to concentrate. If you get up in the morning and say, `Why should I even go on?' or you can't focus on work for any length of time.

``If those symptoms last for 10 days to two weeks, then it's probably time to come in and talk to someone.''

DeSalvo said that students who begin taking drugs or alcohol on a regular basis to relieve stress should schedule an appointment.

``The most frequent number of sessions that people receive is one,'' he said.

In addition to counseling with personal or school problems, the other function of the office is to help students decide on a major and career.

``It's a real valuable tool, particularly for incoming students who are undecided. That can be a great cause of stress for students who are in class with others who know exactly what they want,'' he said.

``We try to help them think through that in an organized way that's likely to produce results with which they would be comfortable.''

Students can request to speak to a male or female counselor, or one who's older or younger.

``Just call and say you would like to talk to someone -- you can be as vague as you want,'' DeSalvo said.

-- Mike Dekker's phone message number is 832-7187. His e-mail address is mdekker@ljworld.com.

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