Student Health Center

The Student Health Center sits on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 on Infirmary Drive at LSU.

LSU’s Student Health Center is open for students to schedule free Zoom appointments with a therapist. 

Dr. John Otzenberger, a clinical psychologist and director of mental health at the Student Health Center, offered tips for students unsure of whether they should seek mental health services.

“We kind of have a model set up where if someone is questioning if they should see someone or not, they can go to our website, and we have something called MindWise self-assessment tool,” Otzenberger said. “It helps students look at potential struggles: anxiety, depression, substance abuse and other mental health concerns.”

The Student Health Center also offers Let’sTalk, which are 15-minute therapy sessions done via Zoom every Monday and Thursday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m..

“If somebody is not sure, if they think they may need to talk to a therapist, they can drop into the Zoom call and talk 15 minutes or so to a therapist that can help move them in the right direction,” Otzenberger said.

Otzenberger said the Student Health Center offers a brief model of therapy that consists of 3-5 sessions. 

“A therapist will access clinically what’s going on with them and may make the referral in the community if that’s a better fit, if they need long-term care.”

Psychology senior Kaylee Patillo has worked at the Student Health Center scheduling appointments since fall 2019. She said seeking mental health services is important to manage the stress of college.

“College can be so overwhelming. You’re juggling all of the stressors of school work and the random stressors of life, and it can pile up very quickly,” Patillo said. “It’s important to make sure that you stay on top of your mental health just as much as you would your physical health.”

Patillo said many students wait until they become overwhelmed to seek therapy, but speaking to a therapist before that happens can be beneficial. Additionally, the Student Health Center can get booked up quickly. 

“I can’t say exactly how quick it books up, but I believe it is usually fully booked by October,” Patillo said. “We have been at a disadvantage for a while with scheduling. There are only so many therapists, and there are a lot of students at LSU.”

If a student is unable to schedule an appointment at the Student Health Center through LSU Mental Health Services, the LSU Psychological Services Center offers paid therapy services to students. 

Patillo said anyone should take advantage of the services and see a therapist if possible. 

 “It’s a great way to maintain emotional health, and it can be extra helpful in times of distress," Patillo said. 

Otzenberger said students are beginning to reduce stigmas surrounding therapy through increased awareness. 

“I think this group of students that we have coming in are sophisticated and understand the value of therapy, the value of coaching, the value of reaching out for help--certainly there could still be a stigma there, but, by and large, I think the students understand and appreciate the need for this type of care, so I think that’s changing greatly,” Otzenberger said. 

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