BY PABLO BOTEYO
Wellness is defined as being in good physical and mental health, and that is only the beginning of what the Wellness Center at Franciscan wishes to promote in the student body through both health and counseling services.
“What they’re trying to do on the health services side is to be the first place students come to ask about any questions about their health,” Wellness Center director Joseph Loizzo said. “Nutrition influenza, I sprained my ankle, and things like that our staff will try to offer the services they can.”
The Wellness Center has a staff of Dianne Schmitt, licensed nurse practitioner, who also receives help from a contracted physician, and some fellow nurse practitioners that come in as needed. The health services center can offer services such as stitches, immunizations for both the flu and mission trips, as well as prescriptions.
For those tasks which the health center cannot do, they often refer students to local physicians in the area. Students are also encouraged to come ask about anything they believe they would like to know, even the health state or risks they take on when going on mission trips. The center also offer other services past health in sickness.
“A lot of time students have questions about nutrition,” Loizzo said. “The nurses can talk to them about what decisions they can make. Sometimes the guys and girls in the gym come down here to ask us what to eat, or what to do and often we’ll recommend meeting with a personal trainer to get a good routine to manage nutrition.”
Within the same Wellness Center lies another center for counseling center with six licensed professional counselors, and six graduate student counselors in a counseling program to learn to be counselors. Graduate counselors also offer groups for students of all various topics to the student body.
“When a person comes in for the counseling center for an appointment, they fill out a form, hand it to me, I give it to the counselor, the counselor will go over it, meet with them, may take one or two meetings, and then make a plan of action for the next six, seven, even eight sessions,” Loizzo said. “We try to blend in the most up to date psychological services in combination with our faith in Christ.”
Students who have trouble with anything in their life, depression, anxiety, alcohol, and many more subjects are encouraged to come to the counseling center to talk to a counselor that can recreate the same feeling of a personal counselor back home. The counseling center also has liberty on campus to help students not only with their mental state, but with also make recommendations, such as spiritual directors, to help with their spiritual state.
The Wellness Center, both health and counseling side, take the faith into consideration, as well as individual privacy when it comes to making recommendations such as talking to parents, or spiritual directors.
“If you need to bring in a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, household coordinator, whoever to make you feel more comfortable when talking to a counselor, great, as long as the person feels comfortable,” Loizzo said. “I think students are scared that we are not going to give them good advice that is not going to be in line with their philosophical believes or religious believes, and nothing can be further from the truth here.”