STORY BY KATHERINE BAUER
Drake’s own on-campus Health Center provides students with a multitude of resources for personal and mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and sexual assault – and those are nothing to be ashamed of.
The Drake community has taken steps to prevent sexual misconduct around campus and to provide support for survivors, including through the Haven survey. However, many around campus feel that there is still more to be done.
Senior health science major Layton Mikkalson has tried to stay engaged with this topic, and he feels it is prevalent and important on campus. He has attended different talks and programs relating to these issues.
“I really like the changes and the direction Drake has taken,” Mikkalson said. “I think there’s a lot of support for anyone struggling.”
One outlet of support for victims of sexual assault is offered through the Drake Health Center.
Typically, survivors of assault come in a few weeks after their incident when they need someone to talk to. There are three male and two female counselors prepared to handle sexual misconduct situations, depending on the preferences of the individual. The Health Center cannot perform an initial physical because evidence collection is the role of the authorities.
“I’ve noticed an increase in people reporting sexual misconduct,” said Counselor Diane Eischeid. “I want students to know they’re not alone. There are a lot of resources. Don’t be afraid to come in and utilize them.”
Eischeid meets with a variety of students with a variety of needs, including homesickness, depression or trauma from sexual misconduct. The most important thing for the Health Center is making sure the students are aware of it and its services.
“I want them to know we’re here for them,” Health Center Office Coordinator Jackie Robinson said. “Our sole mission is for the students only. And they need to know that. They need to know we’re here for them and only them. I think they think they can’t come here.”
Robinson has worked at the Health Center for 12 years and noted the trend in appointment scheduling. The first three weeks of class, the Health Center was booked every day, five days a week. This is the result of students getting used to living in close proximities with 3,000 others and experiencing colds and stress.
“Students are using our resources,” Eischeid said. “I think we’re in need of more counselors on our campus. We need more full-time positions. We only have two full-time staffers. I’d like the center to be more consistent in our resources.”
Besides an increase in full-time staff, Eischeid feels more outreach is needed for the Health Center to connect with all the students it needs to. Suicide Prevention Week, held in Olmsted two weeks ago, was one of these programs.
“There are a lot of resources,” Eischeid said. “Don’t be afraid to come in and utilize them.”
Eischeid said that often times she has students come in to get information for friends when they are not sure about going themselves.
As for students like Mikkalson, a positive experience at the Health Center makes it easy to recommend friends to go there as well when in need.
“People don’t want to go in because it’s awkward,” Mikkalson said. “They don’t want counseling because it has a negative stigma. I don’t see any negative consequences to these things. They will try their best to help you.”
The Health Center opens Monday through Friday at 8:30 a.m. and closes at a variety of times, with Wednesday at 6 p.m. being the latest. More information is available online at www.drake.edu/health.