NYU Launches Program to Address Long Wait Times for Counseling

Called “While You Wait,” the program gives students the option to participate in group therapy if they have more than two weeks until their next appointment.

Students sit in the waiting area at NYU’s Student Health Center located at 726 Broadway. (Photo by Nina Schifano)

A new program by NYU’s Wellness Exchange will provide students access to group therapy if they are experiencing long wait times for individual counselors.

Last semester, multiple students told WSN current mental health resources did not meet their expectations; one of the most common complaints was long wait times to get paired with counselors. This fall, students will have the option to enter the “While You Wait” program if they have a wait time exceeding two weeks.

The program allows students to attend group workshops called toolkits to help them address their concerns more immediately or enhance the benefit they will get from counseling, according to Assistant Vice President for NYU Student Mental Health Zoe Ragouzeos. The toolkits are led by a single counselor, with no specified limit on the number of students involved.

“Toolkits are an intervention in their own right,” Ragouzeos said in a statement to WSN. “They are inspired by the principles of self-management, e.g. they empower the student to play an active role in their own care.”

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The toolkits are split into multiple categories — wellness, anxiety, sleep, academics and psychoeducation — to help students target their issues. During the sessions, students participate in activities such as mindful coloring, self-hypnosis and cognitive behavioral therapy. Common problems the toolkits address are insomnia, time management, procrastination, anxiety and depression.

The three-hour sessions are meant to help students develop coping mechanisms or self-management techniques that can “begin to alleviate their symptoms,” according to Ragouzeos.

CAS senior Sofia Villegas has scheduled appointments with the Student Health Center before but did not experience a long wait time. She said the While You Wait program sounded like a temporary fix.

“While You Wait sounds like a Band-Aid solution,” Villegas said. “People who are going to the Wellness Exchange probably do not have that much motivation to take care of themselves: asking them to voluntarily go somewhere is not going to help.”

LS first-year Charlotte Juan offered a simpler solution to the lengthy wait times.

“I have yet to hear about While You Wait, but it sounds like they are trying,” Juan said. “Why don’t they just get more counselors though?”

Sessions are typically held in the Palladium Multipurpose Room or certain rooms in 726 Broadway and happen at various times on weekdays. More information can be found here

Email Mina Mohammadi at [email protected]

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