Top-Ranked Counseling and Support Services for Students
Posted on October 6, 2022, by Eric Woods, Ph.D.
It’s an honor to serve as the director of TCU's Counseling & Mental Health Center,
and I’m grateful to write this blog for our prospective students and families. The
topic of college mental health has been a hot topic of discussion, especially since
2020. There are so many narratives, sources of information and opinions out there
that might seem overwhelming. As such, I welcome the chance to share my perspective
and to discuss student supports available at TCU.
Foremost, I want to discuss why every major university and college has a campus counseling
center. It’s false to assume that schools build counseling centers due to a perception
that college students are “crazy” or that most of them suffer from a clinical diagnosis.
We exist because stress is not defined as the occurrence of “good” or “bad” events,
but rather how much change an individual is experiencing.
If you want to know how stressed out you are, a good measure to is reflect on how
much change you have experienced in the last 3-6 months. The start of college, especially
for students who come from out-of-state, is one of the few points in the developmental
life span when everything in a student’s life is changing. When college starts, students
experience change in what they're learning, where they live, how they identity themselves,
their relationship with peers and parents, where they eat, what they do for fun, etc.
Ironically, graduating college is also another time of complete change in the life
span. With so much change bookmarking the college experience, college counseling centers
exists to support the student through these changes and navigate academic pressure,
building a new social network and more.
I say this because if a student contacts a campus counseling center, it's not a sign
of failure or weakness. Again, every major university or college has a counseling
center. It’s expected that students need help during this time. That's why schools,
including TCU, place a priority on support services by making them accessible to every
With that said, ages 18-24 is when many psychological and mental health concerns emerge.
It’s not uncommon for a student to experience a first depressive episode or panic
attack during the traditional-aged college years. If a student has a history of such
concerns, it’s not uncommon for these symptoms to flare up when entering college.
This may sound scary, but it’s also why many of my staff have dedicated their careers
to serving college students. Treating a mental health concern right when it emerges
is key. The opportunity to change the trajectory of a student’s mental health is much
stronger while at college than a student waiting 10 to 15 years to seek treatment.
If a student has a history of mental health concerns, or experiences symptoms while
in college, seeking formal treatment can be vital. At TCU, I’m proud to say that our
clinical services have been nationally recognized. In 2022, we were named#4 Best Student Support and Counseling Services byThe Princeton Review. We’ve been featured in publication such asThe Chronicle of Higher Education,Insider Higher Ed,The Harvard Business Review, andThe Fort Worth Star-Telegram. We’ve also trained over 100 other universities and colleges in various aspects of
our counseling model.
No school claims to be perfect, but we do things at TCU that are innovative to the
field, such as offerequine therapy(yes with real horses), partner with local treatment centers to host specialized programs
on campus, and have a dedicate team of therapists to provide triage and crisis care
services (in addition to our general staff therapists). We also foster non-clinical
peer support communities, such as our Support Gaming Community and Collegiate Recovery
Community where students can connect with others who have shared experiences.
If you want more information about our services, pleasevisit our websiteand feel free toreach out to me directlyif you have any questions. I welcome the chance to speak with prospective students
Indeed, starting college is filled with many changes. Some students and their families
might feel overwhelmed and nervous. Such feelings are expected and reflect that a
new stage in life is about to begin. On behalf of my staff, it will be an honor to
provide support and assistance to you if you join our TCU family. If needed, we hope
that you contact us. TCU has a lot to offer, the campus community is vibrant and welcoming,
and I can attest to just how much the institution values the mental health of the
Eric Wood, Ph.D., L.P.C., director of TCU’s Counseling & Mental Health Center, was
awarded the Michael R. Ferrari Award for Distinguished University Service and Leadership
in recognition of his outstanding leadership and contributions to mental health efforts
at TCU and beyond, specifically during a demanding time following the COVID-19 pandemic.