What are the Health and Wellness Center’s operating hours?
The Health and Wellness Center (HWC) is open on the following days and times:
- Mondays from 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
- Tuesday from 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
- Wednesday from 8:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.
- Thursday from 8:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.
- Friday from 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
What kinds of problems do students present when they come for counseling?
At the HWC, we see students with a wide range of problems including anxiety, homesickness, depression, stress, academic worries, roommate and friendship problems, suicidal thoughts, alcohol and drug problems, eating concerns, family problems, grief or loss, identity concerns, and more.
Who is eligible to receive counseling?
Penn State Altoona students are eligible for our services. For registered full-time students, the first eight counseling sessions are free each year. For part-time students, the visit fee of $10 applies.
What will happen at my first appointment?
Your first appointment will begin with a phone screening with a staff clinician. The clinician will help assess the nature and urgency of your problem so that we can help you make the most appropriate next step to assist you. This appointment will be scheduled for up to 60 minutes.
How quickly can I be seen? What if I have an emergency?
We try to get students in as quickly as possible, except during very busy times of the year. If you are having a crisis, you can call the Penn State Crisis line at 877-229-6400, which is available 24/7 for all active Penn State Students or those concerned about a student. You can also call the HWC at 814-949-5540 to request to speak to a counselor for emergencies if a staff clinician is available (please be aware that they may be assisting other students). The UPMC Altoona Crisis Center is available to students in the Altoona area by calling 814-889-2141.
What kind of background and training do HWC counselors have?
Counseling is provided by our staff of licensed counselors. Services may also be provided by counseling interns. All counselors in training positions receive supervision from our professional staff.
Is there a charge for counseling?
Full-time registered Penn State Altoona students receive up to eight free counseling visits each academic year based upon individual needs and CAPS scheduling availability. Additional visits are $10 per visit. Part-time students are charged a visit fee of $10. A fee applies to mandated counseling. Case management services, CAPS Chat, group meetings, and workshops are free to all students. All students must pay a visit fee for psychiatric and medication management services which is typically billed to the student’s insurance carrier.
Are counseling sessions confidential?
All aspects of your participation in counseling at the Health and Wellness Center are confidential by state law. The HWC operates as a single entity, which means that counselors, psychologists, psychiatric providers, and health services staff within the HWC may share your information to consult with each other in order to provide you the most effective services. No information may be released to anyone outside of the HWC without your written permission; however, your counselor is required to report disclosed information to the appropriate authorities when:
- Serious and foreseeable harm to you or others is evident
- Release of confidential information is required by court order or requested by you
- Child abuse or neglect is evident or suspected
- Abuse, neglect, or exploitation of adults who are vulnerable due to physical or mental impairment or advanced age is evident or suspected
If you are under the age of 18, please discuss with your counselor how confidentiality applies to you.
How do I make an appointment?
To schedule an appointment, please call the HWC at 814-949-5540. You will be given the first open appointment that fits with your schedule. Our online scheduling is temporarily unavailable for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).
What about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?
Diagnosing an adult with ADHD can be challenging. Information will need to be collected from others who know you and have information related to your childhood (If your symptoms are recent, you are not considered to have adult ADHD.) In addition, it is necessary to rule out other conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, or alcohol and other drug use which can mimic ADHD.
Students who have previously been diagnosed and treated for ADHD will need to provide copies of their documentation to the Health and Wellness Center Director for review. Please indicate if you are interested in medication continuation and/or disability services. Appropriate documentation includes a comprehensive developmental history, medical history, current symptoms, medication history, current medications prescribed, treatment history, and differential diagnosis. A verification form for ADHD can be downloaded for physician completion and documentation requirements for disability services are available on the Student Disability Resources site. For registration in disability services, psycho-educational testing is required.
Students with no previous ADHD will need to obtain a formal psychological evaluation by a licensed psychologist confirming ADHD. The Health and Wellness Center does not perform these evaluations. Please refer to our list of community providers. The evaluation may include several diagnostic sessions, completion of assessments, self-rating scales, and the completion of observer rating scales.