As the newness of the school year starts to fade, you might be realizing that you or a loved one may need more support to maintain or re-focus on recovery while on campus. It might feel discouraging to recognize that you are not doing as well as you had hoped, but you do not have to suffer alone. Most colleges and universities provide a full range of services to their students, and it would be worthwhile to look into what is available on your campus. While every campus is unique, the following services are typically available at every school.
Student Health Center: The Health Center has physicians and nurses that are on site and specialize in working with college students. Many schools have at least one member of the staff that is familiar with working with people who have been diagnosed with eating disorders and will be able to help facilitate your care and make appropriate referrals on and off campus. Sometimes a dietitian is on staff to work with college students who need nutritional counseling.
Campus Counseling Center: The Counseling Center may be part of the Student Health Center, or it may be a completely separate department. At most schools, therapists are available to see students in individual therapy for a wide array of emotional and psychological concerns. The best part is that many of these services are free or very low-cost. The Counseling Center may also offer group therapy, which allows you to connect with others on campus who are facing some of the same concerns that you are. Some counseling centers may also work with a psychiatrist that can prescribe and monitor medications, if appropriate.
Peer Counselors: If the idea of speaking to a counselor is overwhelming, you may feel more comfortable initially meeting with a peer who has been trained to provide support. While a peer counselor is not qualified to do therapy, they can be a great support in supplementing your ongoing care or helping you to access the appropriate level of treatment for you.
Resident Advisors: Your RA is very knowledgeable about life on campus and can help direct you to the people in your community that can best assist you. They typically have gone through training to mediate conflict between roommates, to listen supportively to their residents and to help students access services on campus.
Dean of Students/Academic Advising: If your school work is starting to suffer because of your eating disorder or mood, you can speak to the Dean of Students or your Academic Advisor to explore your options. They will be prepared to help you with administrative concerns such as adding/dropping classes, communicating with your professors, adjusting your schedule to accommodate treatment, taking a medical leave of absence, and directing you to tutors and academic support programs.
Campus Ministries: If you are spiritually connected to your faith, you might feel more comfortable reaching out to the school’s chaplain. The chaplain is available to meet with students and can assist you in locating a place of worship consistent with your beliefs or can help direct you to more spiritually based counselors.
Off-Campus Treatment & Support: If you prefer to access services off campus or would like more specialized outpatient treatment, find out whether there are any treatment centers located close to your school. The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt always welcomes students from surrounding colleges and universities during the school year. The Center is actually within walking distance to Towson University and is located within 5 miles of all of the following campuses:
- Goucher College
- College of Notre Dame of Maryland
- Loyola University Maryland
- Morgan State University
- Johns Hopkins University
- Stevenson University
Students who attend school a bit farther away from their treatment team, may be able to schedule classes in a way that frees up a particular day of the week for fitting in outpatient appointments with various providers.
The Center for Eating Disorders provides a wide array of treatment options including individual therapy, medication management, nutritional counseling, and a free support group every Wednesday night from 7:00-8:30 PM. If you need help finding outpatient treatment services close to your campus, you can visit The National Eating Disorder Association’s Treatment & Support Finder and search by state or zip code.
In the end, where you seek support is not as important as whether you seek support. Remember that you are not alone and asking for help is a sign of strength. If you are struggling, please reach out to a trusted friend, loved one, treatment provider or one of the campus supports listed above.
If you have any questions about the resources or services discussed above,please email Jennifer Moran, PsyD, CED’s College Liaison at email@example.com or call (410) 938-5252.
Written by Jennifer Moran, Psy.D.
Originally published 9/13/11