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Wellness Services

Making sure that our students have the care that they need, especially when they are aware from home, is of the utmost importance to Ottawa University. The Health Services Center includes a campus nurse and counselor that is available for the mental and physical care of our students.

As Ottawa University shifts to remote learning for the remainder of spring 2020, the Counseling Center is responding to these changes by updating our services. 

We will begin offering remote Zoom and phone appointments to any students who have received permission to remain on campus as of Monday, March 23, 2020.

Please contact the counseling center at 785-248-2582 or by email at to request an appointment. If you call and get our voicemail follow the prompts and we will call you back. 

For now, we recommend you seek care in your local community. There are several resources you can check out on your own, including the Psychology Today Therapist Finder tool and your insurance company’s provider search tool. You may also contact the Counseling Center for support at 785-248-2582.

The counseling center is working on being able to offer telehealth services (phone and Zoom) that are aligned with professional ethical guidelines and the laws and regulations in each state. We hope to be able to offer services to students who are away from campus soon – the information on such services will be forthcoming. If you have any questions regarding telehealth services, please contact Director of Counseling Services, Kelsey Foss.

If you have the Ottawa University Student Health Insurance Plan, or another supported insurance, you can join BetterHealth, a service that provides FREE tele-health services. Visit to get started. 


  • As always, please call Campus Security at 785-229-1075 or 911 in an emergency if you are on campus, or call 9-1-1 if you are in the United States off-campus. 
  • Accessing other crisis resources: you can find urgent care units, hospitals and community clinics in your immediate area who offer care for urgent mental health issues as they come up.
  • National crisis hotlines and online services: 

We are in the process of developing programs for students to access online, as it is not unusual to experience distress during times of uncertainty. However, if your distress continues to the point you are having difficulty managing your day-to-day activities, please seek professional help. 

News reports about the coronavirus, together with concerns that the virus could become more widespread, is raising concerns and making some people worry. Below are a couple links about taking care of your mental health in the face of uncertainty:

Counseling Center
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Health Office
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m

What is a disability?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity.

ADA protects individuals with disabilities in a variety of ways, including reasonable accommodations in learning environments. At OU, accommodations are utilized by students who may need to learn material differently than other students. If you utilized accommodations in high school, they may have been written in an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) or 504 plan.

When students grow ill, a BRAT diet can be extremely helpful for the recovery process.

     B- Bananas
     R- Rice
     A- Applesauce
     T- Toast

Students who would like to request a BRAT diet do so through the University Nurse.

1. Is there a cost?
Counseling and health services are free of charge to OU students.

2. What if I need a referral for medication?
Psychotropic medications are not prescribed by the counselor; however the counselor can assist in providing a referral for medication management services.

3. What is counseling?
The American Counseling Association defines counseling as a collaborative effort between the counselor and client. Professional counselors help clients identify goals and potential solutions to problems which cause emotional turmoil; seek to improve communication and coping skills; strengthen self-esteem; and promote behavior change and optimal mental health.

At Ottawa, counseling services are available to provide short-term assistance in areas of decision-making, crisis intervention, problem-solution, adjustment, or matters of personal concern that could interfere with a student's success on campus.

4. How long is a session? How frequently do I attend?
Visits usually last 45 minutes. Students are encouraged to participate actively in determining the care that may be most helpful to accomplish their goals.  The first session is an opportunity to gather information about student’s history, create goals related to treatment and review/clarify any questions about the treatment process.  In most cases the student will continue with the Ottawa University counselor, however, there are occasions when a student will be referred for services at an outside agency, as it would better serve their mental health needs.

Frequency of appointments will be determined by the counselor and student following the consultation. Frequency may change over the course of counseling based on the student’s progress.

5.How do I know if I need help?
All students are welcome to reach out to the counselor to schedule a consultation and address any questions or concerns. Below are some common symptoms of those who might engage in counseling services.

Reach out for additional support if you notice the following changes:

  • Changes in eating, sleeping
  • Social withdrawal or avoidance
  • Decrease in energy, concentration, interest and motivation
  • Irritable, angry, emotional outbursts
  • Low or sad mood
  • Extreme changes in academic performance
  • Excessive anxiety, worry, stress reactions
  • Increase use of unhealthy coping (i.e. substance use, binge eating) skills to help manage day to day stressors

You may want to reach out for additional support in the following situations:

  • Break up or change in relationship status
  • Loss/illness of family member or close friend
  • Conflict with roommate, friend, family
  • Change in job
  • Victim of assault or abuse
  • Thoughts of self-harm or harm to others – if there is imminent danger call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room

6. Does anyone else need to know if I am attending counseling? Will my roommate or coach find out?
All counseling records are maintained separately from all academic, administrative, disciplinary and medical records, unless otherwise noted. No information about a student's contact with Ottawa University Counseling Center is released without the knowledge and written consent of the student; however, there are occasions when we are allowed to break confidentiality. Kansas law and professional ethics allow the treating provider(s) to breach the limits of confidentiality in the following circumstances: when there is a threat of self-harm or harm toward another/others, suspected elder, dependent or child abuse and/or court orders by a judge.

7. What are the most commonly treated mental health issues on a college campus?
We work with students experiencing a wide range of issues. The most commonly treated mental health issues on college campus include, but are not limited to: anxiety, depression, mood and stress management, eating disorders, adjustment/situational problems, and interpersonal issues.

8. How can I benefit from engaging in counseling?
Counseling is a collaborative experience where the student is able to address concerns with the counselor and set goals in hopes of positive change. Counseling provides students opportunities for self-exploration and acquisition of new skills (i.e. coping, decision-making, problem solving). Sometimes, counseling involves psychoeducation on a particular diagnosis or intervention, so students can better understand treatment options. Some examples of what students can gain from counseling include: improved communication and interpersonal skills, greater self-acceptance and ego-strength, ability to change self-defeating thoughts/behaviors, better controlled expression and management of emotions, relief from presenting symptoms, ability to manage stress effectively, and improved problem-solving skills.

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