By Yianni Sarris
As part of new mental health initiatives at The Ohio State University, the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) now has its own mental health counselor.
David Wirt, a Buckeye himself, is what is referred to as an “embedded counselor,” meaning that he is directly assigned to CFAES for its students. The new embedded positions are designed to provide more mental health resources for students on campus, with the hopes that students can access embedded counselors more readily and much faster than therapists on the OSU Counseling and Consultation Service (CCS) general staff.
Wirt’s position entails that most of his day is spent in one-on-one sessions with students.
“The biggest reasons students will talk to me are anxiety and depression,” said Wirt. “But students also have many other issues like relationship concerns and stress.”
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness month, bringing attention to the importance of diagnosing and treating mental health issues.
On college campuses, anxiety and depression are two of the most pressing issues for students. Students face anxiety over all types of problems including relationships, adjusting to campus life, academics, and financial troubles. And, in this new age of technology, often times computer and mobile screens act as multipliers on the already huge burden of college life.
To help cope with these stressors, Wirt suggests students push themselves out of their comfort zones and work to make new friends.
“Try joining different clubs and organizations,” said Wirt. “Make sure you are starting new relationships.”
And remember, meeting new people is always better without technology.
“If you find your screen time interfering with your academic or personal time, then you are going too far. You shouldn’t rely on screen time instead of face-to-face time,” said Wirt.
When he isn't in private sessions with students, Wirt is usually involved with REACH, Ohio State's Suicide Prevention organization. He also meets with other embedded counselors to discuss mental health issues for the University as a whole.
Wirt, a Columbus native, originally started working as a counselor at the Ohio State Newark campus. In January, he was offered the embedded position at CFAES.
“As of right now I’m still learning the who, the where, and the what,” said Wirt. “But I very much enjoy being here and learning about CFAES.”
“Don’t be shy about asking for help,” said Wirt. “Reach out and sign up.”
To reach Wirt, CFAES students should make an appointment either by calling 614-292-5766 or on the CCS website at https://ccs.osu.edu.
Students in need of help can also call Ohio State’s Counseling & Consultation Service 24/7 at 614-292-5766. To reach the Crisis Text Line, text HELLO to 741741. For the National Suicide Hotline call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).