Health and Wellness offered at Lakeland

Peter Ludolph, Staff Reporter

To those who may not know, Lakeland College offers a variety of health services to students. These services range from general health care to counseling services, and can be found in the lowest level of Brotz Hall across from the security office.

Last year, over 1,000 students utilized the health services at Lakeland. Last semester, 600 students used these services. On average, five to eight students a day use the health services provided at Lakeland.

Sherry Carstens, director of the health center in health services said that, most commonly “sore throats, headaches, minor injuries and assessments” can be done for students on a daily basis.

On Thursdays, Allison Soerens, Nurse Practitioner, is available for more extensive exams and, if need be, for the writing of prescriptions. Soerens also performs physicals, which cost $25.  

Students should feel free to come to the health center and seek help. Carstens said, “We have a pretty open door policy and walk-ins are fine. We recommend that students make an appointment for physicals.”

Anything that happens in the health center is free, with the exception of a physical examination. Over the counter medication for illness and medical supplies are provided for students to use if need be.

However, according to Carstens, the college does not do immunizations, due to the cost of keeping vaccines in storage.

As previously mentioned, a variety of health services are available for students, including both physical and mental health treatment.

Mental health cases are being more commonly treated in health services at Lakeland than in previous years. Carstens said, “The last semester and this semester we have seen more of mental health cases.”

This may have to do with more students seeking out help for stress and other psychological concerns. Carstens said, it is about “a two to one ratio of mental health versus physical health concerns over past semesters.”

Cary Knier, director of counseling services, wants to encourage students to come by and see counselors at health services for any worries or mental concerns that they have. Whether it is stress, relationship concerns or deeper psychological matters, all students are welcome to come and talk to the psychological professionals at the health services center.

If students need to seek out help for any kind of ailment, rest assured, HIPAA laws are closely followed by the health services staff, so students should not be concerned about privacy when utilizing Lakeland’s health services.

Carstens said, “Anything that I do in my office stays in my office. Files that I keep, nobody else has access to.” Students can rest assured that only health professionals have access to their medical information. Even parents of students cannot access student health information unless given permission, according to Carstens.

Students may be wondering if the health services at Lakeland offers medical excuses for class. Carstens said, “I used to years ago, but now it’s the student’s responsibility to inform their professor.”

There are, however, some circumstances where health services can aid you in informing your professor of legitimate illness. Carstens said, “I don’t do notes, but if you give me permission, I will email and say that you were seen here and you were ill and this is what we decided we could do.”

However, most of the time, it is the student’s responsibility to talk with their professor individually.

Another part of Lakeland’s strategic plan is a focus on wellness.

The five institutional goals of the strategic plan, as stated in Lakeland’s framework for continued growth and development, are: to provide a quality educational experience that reflects 21st century teaching and learning practices; to improve financial performance through increased enrollment and innovation in cost controls; to improve student preparation for postgraduate success; to provide opportunities for students, faculty and staff to more fully understand and achieve wellness across multiple dimensions; and to be an Institution that is recognized as a vital resource to the communities it serves.

These goals, along with more information about the strategic plan, can be found here in Lakeland’s framework for continued growth and development.

The college has initiated the wellness campaign to go beyond a focus of physical health. Students are encouraged to seek out help when it comes to any type of health concern, both physical and cognitive.

The wellness campaign may not be obvious to students when they see it. However, it has made its appearance in the form of sponsored events such as the Relaxation Vacation, February’s: Feast, Friends and Fellowship, and upcoming events such as the April 13 Lunch & Learn (Wellness & Stress Release), Core III Family Feud and the Employee Appreciation Walk in May.

The wellness campaign is headed up by a group of staff members at the college whose main focus is to help enhance the “mind, spirit and body” of the whole Lakeland community. The group of staff members are called the Wellness Champions. Lakeland Today did a short story about this group that you can find here.

This campaign aims to tie together all the facets of Lakeland’s wellness branches, including things like health services, counseling, athletics, religious services and food services, now more than ever before.

Knier said, “Wellness was happening already, but now let’s make a concentrated, campus-wide effort to combine our efforts, rather than having separate departments creating programs.”

For more information about health services, students can contact Carstens at [email protected] and Knier at [email protected].