The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

Meet the Staff
Annamarie Parker
Annamarie Parker
Copy Editor

I am an English, Writing major with a double minor in German and journalism. I'm also pursuing my TESOL certificate while working for Housing and Residence Life. I love to travel and meet new people.

The North Wind Editorial Sessions
About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

New WellBeing Center expands accessibility to health services

Campus relocation provides convenience for faculty, staff, students.
WELLBEING INITIATIVE — The new WellBeing Center, located near Northern Lights Dining and Spalding Hall, provides greater access to mental and physical health services. The center houses Counseling and Consultation Services, the Health Center and the NMU Pharmacy.
Ava Sehoyan
WELLBEING INITIATIVE — The new WellBeing Center, located near Northern Lights Dining and Spalding Hall, provides greater access to mental and physical health services. The center houses Counseling and Consultation Services, the Health Center and the NMU Pharmacy.

After the death of a student, and the following wellness report conducted on campus, NMU embarked on a mission to reform the conversation and culture around mental health last year.

In April 2023, President Brock Tessman signed the Okanagan Charter, which acts as a guide for prioritizing student and community health. The university has continued to carry out that pledge with the opening of the NMU WellBeing Center this fall. 

The WellBeing Center hosts a revamped Health Center, as well as the Counseling and Consultation Services (CCS) office. These centers are now able to work together on a collaborative basis, all under the same roof. 

Dr. Christopher Kirkpatrick, Medical Director of the Health Center, stated the importance of the WellBeing Center’s new location in down campus, within close proximity to on-campus housing and Northern Lights Dining.

Story continues below advertisement

“[Before] the visibility wasn’t really there,” Kirkpatrick said. “[Now] there is a better focus on wellbeing and the care of students with the new renewed interest in health and wellness.” 

The Health Center employs four registered nurses, who share a central workspace within a ring of eight medical rooms. The center has newly wired computer systems, utility rooms, a reworked laboratory and an accessible procedure room. The Health Center’s most outwardly noticeable addition is a sized-up pharmacy, which can now offer newer services, including a drive-thru and the filling of previously unavailable medications, such as stimulant prescriptions. 

This greater accessibility for NMU students and faculty coincides with access to CCS, as well as collaboration with outside specialists.

“I’ve had patients that ended up [at the Health Center] first,” Kirkpatrick said. “And I said … ‘Well let’s walk across the hallway, the things we talked about are right here.'” 

Angie Stebbins, Director of CCS, emphasized the importance of collaboration within the NMU community.

“The idea is that we can focus on holistic wellbeing and closeness to student life,” Stebbins said. “This is a way to be inclusive and to also have a lot of cooperation with the Health Center.” 

The remodeling of NMU’s CCS office is a new opportunity to discuss student wellness and dismantle mental health stigmas, Stebbins said. The revamped CCS hosts a variety of support services, including individual and group counseling, as well as workshops, consultations regarding services and telehealth.

Stebbins highlighted the availability of group counseling to students, which often has a shorter waitlist than individual counseling. These sessions, available as skills groups or process groups, can provide community support for students. 

“You don’t have to talk about things until you’re comfortable … [but] in a group, you’re still listening and can feel validated and supported,” Stebbins said. “Don’t knock it until you try it.” 

CCS now hosts later available hours, as does the entire WellBeing Center complex. These new hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and have allowed CCS the ability to offer daily walk-in appointments. Students and faculty are not limited to any number of walk-in appointments and can utilize them even if they have an established counselor or are currently on a waitlist. 

Stebbins expressed a passion towards destigmatizing and “myth-busting” misconceptions about mental health, especially on NMU’s campus. 

“Hopefully one day, getting help for mental health can be talked about as easily as saying, ‘I have a cold,’” Stebbins said. “It seems like a topic that more people are willing to talk about, and continuing that conversation is something we all need to do.”

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Ava Sehoyan
Ava Sehoyan, Assistant News Editor
Hey!! I'm Ava Sehoyan and this is my third year at NMU. I'm beginning my first semester at the North Wind. I study environmental studies and sustainability as well as journalism. I grew up on Mackinac Island, Michigan, and continue to live there with my family! I wrote articles and took photographs for the Mackinac Island Town Crier as a sophomore in high school and fell in love with journalism. I have always loved words and grew up reading and writing. In my free time, I still love to read, write, spend time outdoors, discover new music and go to the thrift store. I can't wait to get to know this community and tell the stories of Marquette!