Health Center moves to new building, offers free counseling services

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The University Health Center (UHC) opened its new building on July 16, promising to provide new and improved services, including some free Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

The building is located at 550 N. 19th St. and is shared with the College of Nursing. Along with the new building, some services’ management has changed, and services have new and improved features.

CAPS and Health Promotion and Outreach are now being managed by University of Nebraska-Lincoln student affairs, instead of Nebraska Medicine.

Health Promotion and Outreach has been rebranded as Big Red Resilience. The Office of Student Affairs made a hire last year to lead Big Red Resilience, which aims to help students gain the skills they need to overcome challenges in their life. UHC decided it would be useful to combine Health Promotion and Outreach with this goal, according to director of student health operations Jill Lynch-Sosa.

The Big Red Resilience’s space in the medical center has an area for students to put together kits for the health center to give students and offices. It also features a Zen room, where students can take a nap, meditate or study. The Office of Student Affairs will control programming for the room.

The free services provided by CAPS will not include assessment and drug or alcohol addiction services.

“Student affairs really was very committed and said, ‘We really think we need to be offering the psychology, therapy support to the students for free,’” Lynch-Sosa said. “They did a lot of research about what the other Big Ten schools were doing, and they’re like, ‘We want to try this.’”

The new building is laid out so services are conveniently located, according to UHC marketing strategist Aimee Grindstaff.

For instance, the pharmacy is located near the west entrance and is open for students, faculty and staff. Grindstaff said it was a busy part of the health center and hopes this location is more convenient for patients. The pharmacy also features a prescription drop-off area so patients can safely dispose of unused medications.

Additionally, physical therapy is also located on the first floor so patients with injuries do not have to inconveniently move to a different level of the building. The new facility has private patient rooms and features an aqua-therapy pool, a turf strip and a gym space for improving strength. Students with a doctor’s order can use these services, and UHC expects more students will utilize this facility.

“[Physical therapy] is one of those areas in particular that we built bigger than the current need or usage of the space just knowing that we think demand will increase over time,” Grindstaff said.

The building also features a kitchen so the health center’s registered dietitian can use the space to show students how to meal plan for the week. Additionally, there is a multi-purpose room, which could be used for yoga classes or presentations.

There is also casual seating available around the building for students to relax and study. According to Grindstaff, the walls in the building are not “Husker red” because they wanted to provide a calm, relaxing environment.

“It’s best practice to avoid those brighter, bolder colors, especially because red can be associated with blood or aggression, and we don’t want students to have any negative emotions when they’re coming for healthcare,” she said.

The second floor has a lecture hall for nursing students and a check-in station for both CAPS, dental and physician appointments. The third floor is filled with College of Nursing classrooms and offices.

Bus 25 will add a stop by the health center so students can get to the health center from East Campus during the day. Students can tour the health center during its open house on Aug. 29 from 5:30-8 p.m.

“We are very excited,” Grindstaff said. “The old building I think had been up since ’58, so it was much needed.”

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