Wellness Center expands and restores student health resources at lower costs

College students already have plenty of expenses to worry about, but the UCCS Health and Wellness Center aims to ensure that physical and mental health care costs don’t join the list.

This semester, the Wellness Center has added new services and restored programs that were previously discontinued due to COVID-19. The center takes a cost-balanced approach to therapy, physical exams and more.

Stephanie Hanenberg, assistant vice chancellor for health and wellness, says that the Wellness Center brought back psychological testing after hiring more staff members to perform the tests. They offer therapy for individuals, couples and families and have created 14 other therapy groups designed to fulfill student requests.

“It’s whatever the student’s needs are, so we’ll have an eating disorder group, students of color group, something called DBT to teach different skills, so whatever our students are asking for is how we kind of design them,” Hanenberg said.

Hanenberg also mentioned that the Wellness Center offers emergency physical and mental health care that see frequent use and have been promoted along with programs like Heartmath, The How of Happiness and QPR suicide prevention training.

Hanenburg says that the Wellness Center sees students daily with mental health crises or suicidal ideations and addresses those crises proactively to attempt to prevent harm.

The Wellness Center is looking to do more prevention work and is hiring a Mental Health and Wellness Promotion Coordinator to help establish more prevention programming and classroom curriculum.

Stephanie Hanenberg, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health and Wellness. Photo by Kira Thorne.

The Wellness Center offers a variety of physical health services including physical therapy, chiropractors, massage therapists and Well Male and Woman Exams. In addition, they have resumed in-person dietitian meetings and free cooking classes.

Many of the Wellness Center’s mental and physical health services cost money. However, they understand that students cannot always afford the medical care they need and are willing to work within their budgets.

“So, if somebody comes in and they say, ‘I want help, I have $15 to my name,’ and they need antibiotics or something, a lot of times we will either use the emergency fund for the visit or we will write it off. Then, we say, ‘OK, let’s get you a $4 prescription, let’s order this one lab.’ We’ll make it extremely cheap,” Hanenberg said.

The Wellness Center does not accept insurance for most services at this time because they want to keep the costs of their services affordable, according to Hanenberg.

Many of their programs and services are free for students already. For example, students get their first three dietitian appointments free, and the Wellness Center is also working on a bill to give students similar access to counseling.

According to Hanenberg, part of a new fee would be used to give each student three free counseling sessions at the Wellness Center and access to six more free counseling sessions through an online platform.

Students can view the Wellness Center’s lists of internal and external resources and make appointments here.